Pandora's Box
valium-induced shards
Zarya Chylde

for jim the butcher

i met a man today
who can't find his daughter
he's shattered like
a broken mirror
but still he laughs
a pretty mask for the world
to cover a decaying spirit.

i watch him eating his oatmeal
blue denim shirt falling open,
exposing his naked soul for

so much pain behind so
much laughter. Why
would a father fall like this
when he's only
for his daughter?

for anna

it's 3:14 am
and she's
screaming again
they come around
playing flashlight tag
you're not supposed to hide in this game

she's ninety-two years old
and she's got a beard
she can talk
but chooses to listen
you can get people to do anything for you
if they think you can't do it yourself

Anna is brilliant.
she's just too lazy to bother.

for evil steve

i met a boy today
who wears blue cotton pyjamas
"lookin' slick, Steve," i say.
"i'm just a regular guy."
he never speaks my name.

he walks with a stiff sort of droop
and he's got a black eye
he doesn't seem like the fighting type
his eyes are blue and fathoms deep
tranquilized and serene.

"who do you love, steve?"
"that's personal."

his eyes are a twelve-year-old boy's.
i checked his bracelet.
january 1962.

for Daniel

finding my guardian angel
in this hell on earth
and being ripped away
they found us one night
sitting on dirty linoleum
down the hall in the south ward
holding each other for dear life
it took three guards to pry
our arms apart
physical contact is against
hospital rules

he was a soldier who broke his back
they discharged him like faulty goods
i broke my hand on Sunday morning
punching a metal door
they threw me out for breaking the rules
snap a few hearts, it's for the
good of the masses

it's unhealthy, you know
you shouldn't be finding salvation
in hell
you shouldn't be finding love
when we've never seen it before

two and a half years
three thousand miles
born apart and star-crossed
siamese twins separated at the soul
how did you find me
after all these years?
and how can i make it through another day
without you?

they make it so generic
"don't see that guy anymore."
unhealthy, that's what they call it
maybe they're right
it's certainly addictive
and once we've started
we'll never get enough
but it's our drug of choice
and it's the finest one we'll find
so we'll take all we can get,
thank you.

for magnolia

how did she get a name like that,
i'll never know
she called herself many things
and people said many more

she sat at the table with two dictionaries
and she used her broken english
to teach herself french
scarf wrapped around her head modestly
eyes expressive but muted
shadowed stars of black light

she taught me about balance
in her scared little voice
something in her mind had broken many years past
the horrors she had seen i would never know
her accent hinted of the east
and she mumbled in arabic
but still after all she had found and lost
she wanted to help us
we borrowed her paint
to draw cheery valentines
and she drifted off
she loved someone once, i'm sure of it
and it shattered her through and through
body and mind

for glenn

he told us dirty jokes about
little red riding hood
greasy hair falling in his face
he had four children all nine years old
two were his and two were hers
he called her grace
but her name was grazia
she was a tired portuguese whore
and he loved her with all his mind
the tears in her eyes were for him
their children were filthy
i'd never seen anything so pathetically poetic.

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