i’m supposed to ask permission to use people’s names when i write but how often have i done what i am supposed to?

last night was
a screened porch
in an eastern state.
pizza made from hand.
tongues working to further
things along.

last night,
an encouragement,
“your best voice
is your conversational voice,
you should write
more in that”.

my tongue, busy
with the pizza and
busy with the walls
inside my mouth.
is this where
the wall is?
is this why
the voice in my head
is perceived as
different from the voice
that escapes me?

back in the western
state, people are paid
to count fish in a river.
to ensure proper
escapement, to allow
for a species to continue
its existence.
and here, back here
in this eastern state,
the butcher block
kitchen counter
of this gifted home,
it is covered
in a rolling mass
of chicken eggs.
every morning, chickens
let free from their overnight
enclosure, and
every morning,
four eggs plucked
from their coop.

i have not kept up,
eggs outnumbering
the bricks, removed
from the wall in my mouth.

is the wall in
my mouth?
is this why the words
do not escape?

and still this morning,
a woman walks with me
though she seems
repelled by me.
perhaps this is what helps
propel her forward,
the quality of her
repulsion, even
as she is
next to me.
is it hers? or
do i wear it
like an egg?

a thin shell,
it breaks so easily,
yet still it has
served its purpose
for millennia;
just enough protection
to keep things out.
just enough strength
to contain itself within.

i feel at the spaces
made vacant
by people no longer
here, watching
the wake
left by their
escaping.
knowing, or
maybe not,
that our departures
are what allow us
to continue.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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