Day 727, June 29, 2022


I carry memory in the joints of my appendages, 
in the knuckles of my fingers, 
in the crook of my toes. 
I remember pressing my shoulder against foam and steel, 
I remember the smell and feel of a sweaty floor mat, 
the breath of another boy as we strained, 
the willpower to not flinch, 
to connect, 
to treat one’s body as if it were a disposable thing, 
a thing made to be used up until there was nothing left. 
Everything is a little more gentle now. 
I stretch as I walk, 
turn my head, 
windmill my arms. 
I look like a wind-up toy let loose on the kitchen table. 
Back home, 
I am so tired I push the cat aside and lie down under the covers 
and almost let myself be taken by sleep. 
The chickens are counting clouds and eating dirt. 
Sometimes I let my arm hang limp like a broken wing 
because it is easier that way. 
I do not wonder if I will grimace. 
I walk like I am pretending to lure a predator away. 
I walk like a man who was once shaped by his body.


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