The Torturer’s Horse

Mine is not an important failure. Like most failures not immortalized in oil or verse, the hurt matters only to me; only I know the depth and width and breadth of the injury, the length of the scar, the searing pain that keeps me from breathing. Only I wonder how long it will hurt, how long before either it ends or I do.
It has made time expand and collapse. Every minute is an eternity while whole seasons disappear before I had a chance to notice. I count. It’s been two years and three months; only two more hours until I can take a sleeping pill. Is it only Wednesday? How can it be November—wasn’t it just June?


In my dream, I’m standing on the bottom of a deep river. I can see the sunlight glint down from the surface above me. My mother, who is dead, is there with me. We can breathe fine in the water. A boot with a severed foot in it floats down past us. Then an arm. Spiders. A tongue. I point to the tongue and say to my mother, “That’s a lie.”


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