Somehow, my hair stopped growing in patches. The bullet holes have all been sewn. No more of it, I said: no more crawling in the grit for a man who won’t tell me how to shoulder the things within me that gnaw at each other. & when the performance finally ended, I wore my itching nerve-skin for the first time in two weeks. I posed in the mirror & saw my dad’s face. I thought: my dad is just some man I know. I said to him: you’re just some man I know & we don’t eat bread together like they do in the movies. But no more. I stretched the blame out too wide, let it ache there too long. I watched my nails grow & reprimand all I knew of love, but no more crawling, that man’s not there. Shake excuses from my foaming mouth, shake you off, move forward. Fish the key to the secret room we won’t admit is there. My whole life I’ve chased this human shadow into all kinds of empty basements & now, I think he & I should sit beside each other & watch our shapes change.

Jade Benoit