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Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?


Cinematic pan out

as I run to the train

fleetingly wondering if I packed my inhaler,

weighed down by textbooks

and the nagging backwards pull of tardiness.

I n s l o w  m o t i o n

the last passenger climbs the steps and is swallowed by the metal mouth.

What about me?

I have my ticket.

Bought it online

so I could be on time.


Dramatic close up

as I grab the handle of the silver door.

It's cold with November kisses

yet I can still feel the pink warmth of human flesh that lingers there.

I lingered too.

That's why I'm late.

A swell of orchestral violins and cellos

(Medoza's Theme: Always One Second Behind)

as I beat sense into its skin

trying to grab someone's attention .


A montage of faces of passengers

as I am dragged along, legs following someone else's orders

stop. go. Run faster. There is still hope.

They crescendo, but the violins have dropped away, the cellos only a tremolo,

background buzz for sneers.

Or are they pitied sighs?


Zoom back to me,

setting the beast free

grabbing at a fistful of hair

molding curses from puffs of air

and the credits roll away on the rail.


        The safest way to travel is by train. A train is solid and familiar, never straying from the old

Breaking in Six Degrees

Hallie Garrison


“I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet.”

John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation

The First Degree

I pull in closer to smell the aftershave on the father’s collar, rounding this same corner for the fifth time today.  My bike wheels give a squeak, and I jolt back to the pavement because I’m afraid they’ll notice I don’t actually belong—not here, not to their picnic.  Lately I’ve found myself wanting a refresher course in the art of family making.  A mother, a father, a sibling, or two?  A grandmother, she knits.  A grandfather, he’s quiet, but the aunt (ant or ahnt) is far too rowdy.  Uncles come and go, recover and remarry, such that there are branches and branches and branches of cousins.

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