This Was Not Built For Anyone But Us

There is a tunnel under my city:

it is filled up with ache and bodies and stones and

dark. I go there sometimes, when I’m feeling

at a loss for anything, to watch

the graveyard men digging amongst the piles

of flesh (and, yes, the body still bruises even

after death) and looking for some small sign of

who these lost once were: the way the buttons

on a shirt are loose from so many times they were

absentmindedly twisted or the tooth just a

little chipped from a piece of rock candy

crunched too hard. Sometimes

I’m drinking a paper cup of coffee, the liquid

cooling faster than I realize, and the graveyard

men will nod at me in recognition (and,

no, I’m not the only one who makes a

habit of watching them dig) and I will blink

back and try to smile. I don’t want

them to know, though of course I’m sure they do, that

I sometimes think about

trying to beat the tunnel.

I wonder how it would feel to run

across the bones of those who tried

before me; if they would break to dust beneath

my feet. I’ve heard it doesn’t end, though,

that the tunnel just keeps going

as if it had been built to never open

up into something else. But, if I had built

it, I would have spread a

rumor like that, too. I wouldn’t want

people to completely believe so that if

they ever made it to the other side

they would stare up at the sky and

the blank light of the sun and

after all that they would be blinking

in surprise and if I were the

builder maybe I’d be waiting for

them with arms held out to catch

those who might fall with exhaustion,

and I would get to be the one to say, just once, “Don’t

worry,

don’t worry, everything is alright.”

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