"Just Breathe" - Patrick Conley

"Just Breathe" - Patrick Conley

she reaches out a rose in hand
the other behind her back
holding the doll
flick flick flicking
at the loose thread
slowly unraveling the seam
in the chest

she wonders how much
she can open it
how much stuffing is in there
what color is it
the homogenous bleached white pale
manu-fractured in china kind
the rich silky Persian slippery
softness of one refined
the old brittle
too long in attic
smell of mold and smoke
from cigarettes long ago

she keeps her eye open
focused on the one in front
hoping he doesn’t notice
the busy work behind her back
hoping she doesn’t betray her distraction
keeping the conversation light
as possible

she curses herself for lack of dexterity
for not trimming and filing her nails

finally excusing herself
she turns
and clutching the doll in both hands
hurries to a quiet corner
behind the eyes

releasing the tight grip
opening and slowly gazing down
to see
if any surprise
or enlightened truth will reveal

and yes
a thread of gold
wiggles and springs forth
like a ferociously fast growing vine
wrapping her hands
traveling up and down
paralyzed limbs
eventually covering every bit of body
she tells herself breathe
just breathe
just breathe

[June 2014 photo by Michelle Castleberry]

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