hobson’s daughter – R C deWinter

the whine of an unidentifiable machine bathes me
in the sweat of an unremembered nightmare

great salty drops slide down the surface of my soul
a leftover picasso hanging in the garage of the world
further deformed by the handwritten judgment of
a panel of critics enshrined in a three ring binder

whose torn plastic cover sports smeared doodles
of prehistoric life dating back six millennia

i twist and turn inside myself
adjusting what needs adjusting so my breathing
will be calm almost silent in-out waves in an imaginary sea

when i emerge
bloodyfingered and in desperate need of nicotine
i find nothing but overflowing ashtrays
thanks to the putti lounging on the mantelpiece

who in the advantage of my absence
rummaged through coat pockets and purses
chainsmoking every cancer stick i’d been hoarding

this leaves me with a life or death decision

do i mask up and brave the bright hunger
of a host of invisible reapers
to buy the instrument of another face of the grave
or
stay safely sequestered
twitching and cursing my way through
the starvation of addiction?

there’s nothing sensible about any rationale for either choice
so
standing before the mirror
i smile
look up
toss a coin

RC deWinter’s poetry is anthologized, notably in New York City Haiku (NY Times/2017), Coffin Bell Two (Coffin Bell/2020) in print: 2River, Adelaide, Event, Genre Urban Arts, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, the minnesota review. Night Picnic Journal, Prairie Schooner, Southword among many others and appears in numerous online publications.

Image via Pixabay

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