There is no zip code for her,
no snugshut windows
no locked doors keeping back the dark.
No walls to hang a calender,
and there is no reflective glass
or bathroom mirror she would dare to look into…
The Edges of Society,
that all sounds much neater,
and more finely mapped,
than it is.
to dwell there
isn’t a matter of address,
of forwarding mail,
of deciding between curtains or mini blinds.
It’s not hiring a creaking moving van
with cracked vinyl seats.
It’s both a clutching,
and a letting go,
but you don’t jerk awake before the impact.
There is no last second saving you from the repeated collisions,
and the constant bruising,
and the notches chipped from your spine,
are the only way of marking the time….
The drinkers hour,
the hour of remorse,
is what her whole life consists of.
There is no downward spiral for the outcast,
nothing so quick,
It’s a perpetual hanging,
a neck stretched like screaming glass but not quite broken.
It’s a hovering,
in stasis midway between surface air and cold, dark depths
the almost drowned,
with no blessed unconsciousness.
A half life,
or half death,
and she sometimes cuts herself to see if she still bleeds,
it being the only thing she has left to offer…
And her head plays funny tricks, shifting her here and now to
And she has conversations with people who aren’t there,
that sting like a thousand yellowjackets.
The pain no less for being only in her mind,
for that is the tenderest place…
The welts raised there
can last a lifetime
and never heal.
Learned articles list ponderous footnotes about slipping through the cracks,
but she never slipped,
she was pushed ,
as she turned her head to see what was chasing her,
its maw opened and swallowed her whole,
spitting out the bits that could be sold for scrap.
Living on the edge means she lives in a maelstrom
round and round
the periphery a rough draft,
an ever-changing, eroding boundary,
that she may seize for a slight and fragile moment,
a fleeting glimpse of sky and light,
but her ropeburned hand can’t grip,
and the momentum claims her once again,
the rapacious Fringe greedily gathers her back…