Peel as paper and break around the edges but when were you ever that filled with light
your father rents a room above you and dances all night with a bottle of something in each fist the ones he used on you and your mother and the neighbors and the superintendent and the janitor
when you walk secretly you're sprinting ready, nervous, lip splitting from memory the gift of November how trees are shorn of their clothes as you were once
and the shelter director shouted 'you can't be blaming that man forever, you're responsible for yourself now!' pissed off and heading for exits that don't exist and 'no, you may not touch me' every 5 seconds alarms are going off
and this isn't the kind of life that you should have had whipped and shattered some things you had better not ever take in stride loving yourself when no one else will when no one else knows how, in the cracked bathroom mirror late at night saying 'yes, you, come in, I have your bed all made.'
Yellow Cab #63
Sheila's three kids are at the neighbors while she drives a cab for eight hours every night except for Tuesday and Sunday when she sleeps like the dead with the little one's all screaming for attention that she's too tired to give picking up Tony at the Mayfair Motel on crutches with a busted foot going to O'Sullivan's bar downtown his social security check burning a hole in the dead center of his set-to-wander- soul she knows them all a regular crew of ill-fated ne'er-do-wells childhood friends to whom time has not been kind who do the best they can with what little they've got Sheila can hardly remember when she last had a good laugh or cry you don't let stuff like that in anymore it will only slow you down make you weak, make you hopeful make you want too much of what you can't have.
Bio: James Diaz lives in upstate New York. His work has appeared in HIV Here & Now, Chronogram, Ditch, Foliate Oak, Pismire and Cheap Pop Lit. He is also the founding editor of the online literary arts journal Anti-Heroin Chic. http://heroinchic.weebly.com/