Watching from the City
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I watch cars on the highway
from a bridge high above.
Streaking taillights
fill the night
like fish, orange and red
and when the rain comes,
the highway melts
in ribbons of tears.

You ate paint.
When you puked it up
it stained the carpet
in Kandinskys and Stills
slick with red and blue and green.
You swallowed it
as you swallowed the world:
thickly
with mucous
in big garish chunks
because you said you could
and nobody would stop you.
You couldn't help that the world
was old and leaden
taken from the back cabinet of a school
where the pipes made you sick
so was it really your fault
what happened next?

The paint
the pipes
they poisoned your heart, they say.
Whose fault was it
if not yours?
Nobody stopped you for the walls
which you chewed like chalk
or the water
which tasted of metal
or the $1 hamburgers
which you gulped so greedily.
Nobody warned you.

You didn't let them.

You always had a hard time with authority.
You wouldn't stop
not when people told you to
not when you puked blood on the nubbly carpet
not when you couldn't eat anything solid for a month
not when you fainted and seized just from standing
not for anything
not for anybody.

You didn't stop
not for the world
not even for yourself.

You called yourself a visionary.

Did it hurt
when you fell?
Were you strong
when you hit the asphalt?
Did you laugh
and push away the paramedics
and run with wounds gaping
like you always hoped?
Or were you already gone
waiting for flowers at a funeral
and a terrible quiet little grave
that nobody would attend
and nobody would remember
just like you always feared?

You were so scared of being forgotten.
Does it matter
now that you are gone?

Were you strong?
You always said you were.
Tell me the truth—
did it hurt
when the world did not swerve
to catch you?
You fell so beautifully
curling perfect
from the bridge
but the ground was not merciful
like you always hoped. The asphalt
cut your lungs, the tyres
crushed your bones
to fine white powder
and I'm scared to admit
when I saw you
all I could feel
was relief.

On the bridge,
I sling my backpack over my shoulder
and walk. My exhale clouds the air
as more fog to join the haze
and I find myself standing
breathing
burning bright
against the blackness of the world.

The droplets falling gently down on earth
become as teardrops, sinking greenly, wet
again and rising, anger not yet gone
because the sun is soon to come again.

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