Every speeding car is coming to kill. You look and look and look and even then you still can’t change lanes. Your mind a terror of what if, wiring wired like a tripwire. You’re one wrong move, wrong glance, wrong thought from being a screeching wreck of bone and steel. And the cars keep hurtling, speeding, weaving. More projectiles pouring on the highway, and when will the crash coming ever end? Every sequence a siren of nightmares. You get off on the wrong exit and stop. Your hands still gripping the wheel. You’re shaking. Your heart is pounding. This is why your life has gone nowhere you wanted it to go. Diabetes The sunlight outside was brutal, a violent glare I wanted to blot out How dare you? How fucking dare you? “You have diabetes,” the doctor had said. What happened never happened. Blurry vision, chugging water, my blood sugar a lethal 500? Stab myself with needles every day? Denial is a life invisible. What you can’t see can’t hurt you until it’s too late, and your eyes aren’t blurry but blank, blind to the charred-looking foot being cut off. I bought a pack of cigarettes and smoked in the park. Not my proudest moment. An old woman cradled a scraggly dog, a plastic cone ringing its stupid neck. Disease My eyes bulge like popping squid eyes. My head swollen like a pumpkin. My body skinned down to sticks. Skin peeling off in white flakes, molting like a lizard. Fading away inside myself. A ghost changing shape. I’m sinking into a hole of sheets and pneumonia. I don’t know who I am. But I’m alive. I know that. And strangely peaceful. My body beats and claws against nothing, yet desperate to save me, as if it only wants to tear me apart from the inside and start over again. But there is no over again. The window open for flight. A phantom moving outside myself. Sickness like a ghoul. Follow Your Heart Where but the sky to fling our hopeless hearts, red bubbles rising far into the blue until going too high, always too high, a drop of blood that pops without a sound, poof, gone, as if no more, but there is more, the torn red sack, the split skin, maybe a piece of mangled meat falling beyond our sight, landing in the branches of some distant tree, hanging from limbs like splats of dripping blood that don’t drip, red stains that don’t go away, still wanting what happened of letting go. And it’s not the sky we look to anymore but only to the branches we pass under to see some other heart-shreds hanging there. Life You are brittle autumn leaves, broken and crushed into pieces, scattered like confetti on the dead grass, ready for winter’s hand of snow to push you back into the ground, dissolve you away into the life of spring, the life of a flower swallowing the sun, a life you’ll never see. Loser You hide your head in a kaleidoscope hole while the wind shreds your life like a flag in tatters, flapping on a forgotten pole. Thomas has had work appear in Redivider, The Louisville Review, Hawai'i Pacific Review, The Nassua Review, The MacGuffin, and Crack the Spine. Thomas lives in Nashville with their two sons.
I went to the doc today too. She said I need to come back and do bloodwork, suspects I got diabetes. Ah the dreaded curse of diabetes. I have a fear of the daily needle. God. Oh well, that’s life. Could be worse I tell myself. Sometimes I look at the word broken up die-a -betes. Betes meaning animal in another language I learned as a kid – can’t remember maybe french…. die -a -dog. Not a good reminder of an end coming….but at least that ice cream and candy was good while it lasted. Heavenly. I work at a nursing home. Saw a woman’s toe amputated from diabetes. Sigh. Shouldn’t talk of such depressing things….as Monty Python’s Always Look on the Brightside plays in my head. I enjoyed your poems. Thanks so much.