Child of the Cabbage (Ep. 6)

Author’s Note: If you’re interested in seeing the notes used to frame this chapter of the story, you can visit this POST.

The next morning, Gracelyn Polk felt well enough to go back to school.

She slowly pedaled her bike in the morning glory goodness, looking up at the yellow metal sky and its crumbling sun. She thought about Astron and what he had said — about there not really being others at the school and that it was an empty place full of ghosts. He made her feel foolish. He made her feel as if she was wasting her time.

“I don’t care what he says,” she spoke aloud. “I still need a good education. And there’s nothing wrong with having a vivid imagination. I can play school if I want to play school. Whatever else am I going to do with my days?”

As Gracelyn came upon the unsettling neighborhood of Vinegar Village, she suddenly stopped. She looked off to her left, down one of the tree-lined streets there. It was the general Midwestern place found in the great picture book of the American dream, now dreamless. The homes ran in a row down each side of the boulevard, typical two-story architectural teeth erected by lost hands inside a broken jaw, darkened square windows of dusted glass looking out on buckled and broken sidewalks pierced by immortal weeds of green.

She heard a noise coming from a place where there was usually never a noise. She tried to stop breathing so that she could hear better through the distance. The noise rang out softly in a consistent rhythm — it was a clinking or tapping sound, metal upon metal, then metal upon wood, she thought.

“Someone’s hammering on something,” she told herself. “But who would be building in this dark age?”

She got off the bike, steered it out of the roadway and set it against a shrub row at the edge of the right-side sidewalk. She looked up at a white street sign attached to a tall, black lamppost at the corner. At the top, higher up then the sign, the post had a faded white covering the shape of an inverted tulip shielding a long dead bulb. The sign read: VINEGAR VALE, and then in smaller letters boulevard was abbreviated as BLVD.

She slowly slinked along the cracked sidewalk, peering through breaks in the shrub rows to catch glimpses of empty front yards, watched upon by the sentinel vacant homes that looked like tombstones because of how they sat all in a line like that — silent and dead and merely shells for memories blasted away. The hammering noise grew louder as she went. When she got to the end of the block, she peered across the intersection and saw a man mending a fence at a big yellow house there on the corner. It was much bigger than the other houses around it, much grander, Gracelyn thought, and not nearly in a state of disrepair as the others. Someone was caring for it. Someone had never left, or maybe someone returned. She stood at the opposite curb while the man continued to work. It wasn’t long though before he completely stopped hammering and straightened himself like something had suddenly caught his attention. He looked to his right. He looked to his left. He looked up at the sky — and then he turned around.

He gazed at her for a moment as if he just didn’t know what to make of the girl standing across the street and watching him. He holstered the hammer in a toolbelt he had around his waist. He reached into a pocket in his blue jeans, withdrew a red cloth and wiped at his face.

“Are you lost?” the man finally called out to her.

“No. I’m on my way to school.”

The man readjusted the straw-yellow cowboy hat atop his head and squinted at her with a look of wonder and confusion. “School?”

“Yes, sir. School.”

The man made a puzzled face. “There’s no school here… Or anywhere.”

“I make my own school. It helps to keep my mind occupied with something.”

The man shook his head in agreement, tossed a glance over his shoulder at the house and said, “I know what you mean.” He made a motion to her with his hand for her to come closer. “Let me get a better look at you,” he said.

Gracelyn looked both ways before she crossed the street that didn’t require looking both ways and went to him without hesitation. She stopped before him and looked up because he was tall. He had sentimental eyes, Gracelyn thought, Bear Lake blue and contemplative. His face was somewhat drawn and speckled with whiskers the color of salt. She wasn’t afraid of him at all. She felt safe for once.

He looked her over and smiled. “And who might you be?”

“Gracelyn Polk.”

The man nodded and twisted his mouth in an act of considerate thinking. “I never heard of a Gracelyn Polk.”

“Oh, it’s okay if you’ve never heard of me. I’m not famous or anything.”

The man chuckled and looked around at the present-tense world he was in. “Fame doesn’t matter anymore — it never did.”

Gracelyn nodded up at the big, pretty house of bumble bee yellow. “Do you live here alone?” she wanted to know.

The man sighed with the stab of a quick, dark memory. “I do. Yes, I do.” There was an awkward silence between them and then he put his hand out to her. “The name’s Farm Guy, by the way.”

Gracelyn reached out and shook his hand. She crinkled her face. “Farm Guy?”

“That’s right.”

“That’s your name?”

“That’s my name.”

“So, your first name is Farm, and your last name is Guy?”

“You would be correct.”

“That’s not really a name… It’s more of what you are, but then again, this isn’t really a farm.”

Farm Guy laughed. He liked her. “Do you want to see my birth certificate?”

Gracelyn seriously thought about it for a moment. “No. I believe you.”

He smiled. She liked his smile. It was peaceful and comforting, like a quiet grandfather maybe, she decided.

“You know, I think I’m tired of working on this darn fence for a while. Would you like to come inside for some milk and cookies?”

Gracelyn was happily shocked. “You have milk?”

“I do.”

“You have cookies?”

“Chocolate chip. Made them myself,” Farm Guy boasted.

Gracelyn chewed at her bottom lip and looked at the big house again, trying to decide. “I really should get off to school. I’m already going to be late.”

“Well, I know school is important… But I’d like you to. Been a while since I’ve had some company in the big old house… And the milk is cold, and the cookies are… Out of this world.”

Gracelyn sat at a round table topped with a tablecloth that reminded her of a picnic she once took when she was very young — like a checkerboard, but with blue and white squares. There was a glass vase in the middle of the table and inside the vase were yellow flowers that looked wild. The kitchen smelled like good cooking. It was a very nice house, at least the parts she had seen were. It was very clean and neat and smelled like a good, happy life. She just couldn’t understand why it was here or for what reason. It didn’t fit, but it did. Then again, it didn’t matter, because at the moment she needed it.

Farm Guy set a tall glass of milk in front of her. She quickly reached out a hand and felt the cold, wet glass, and drew it to her mouth and took a gulp or two. The man set down a cookie jar that resembled a white pig wearing a black top hat who was sitting down on his rear end like a person. He had a wide smile and a big belly. Farm Guy lifted off the head by the top hat and set it aside.

“Go ahead,” he said. “Help yourself.”

Gracelyn eagerly thrust her hand inside the pig’s cookie jar guts and pulled out a big chocolate chip cookie. “I haven’t had a cookie in… Seems like forever,” and she bit into it, closed her eyes, and slowly chewed, savoring every sweet moment.

Farm Guy pulled off his straw-yellow cowboy hat and hung it on a peg near the back door in the kitchen. His head was mostly bald except for a short crop of hair around the sides and a sparse patch of mowed down receding fuzzies up top. He pulled out a wooden chair across from her and watched as she enjoyed the snack.

It was then a serious look came over his face and he said to her, “Do you understand what happened to the world?”

Her eyes were fixed on him as she bit into another cookie. “I only know the world got too hard for people to live in… Most people.”

“You’re right,” he said. “You’re a smart girl.”

“That’s because I still go to school.”

The man gave her a soft smile and nodded his head.

“But what I don’t understand,” Gracelyn began. “Is why. Why did the world get so hard to live in?”

Farm Guy took a deep breath and leaned back in his chair. He reached a long arm to the cookie jar and pulled one out, put it toward his mouth and nibbled on it as he searched for an answer for her.

“I suppose in a nutshell, the answer would be that people became too hard on people.”

“You mean they didn’t care about each other like they should have?”

“That’s a big part of it. Now, I don’t claim to know everything about the world, but I know quite a bit. And what I know makes me sad as I sit here and look at you.” He sucked at his mouth and looked around the bright kitchen. “You shouldn’t even be here. Not like this. You should have a different life. A better life.”

“But I don’t mind being here with you… Like this. It’s nice for once.”

Farm Guy held a fist in his hand and looked into her eyes. “We were too hard on the world, and it turned on us. Think about a cat. What happens if you pull on a cat’s tail really hard… Even if it’s the nicest cat in the world?”

Gracelyn polished off the last bit of the milk in her glass and looked at him. “The cat gets mad.”

“That’s right. The cat will turn on you. It will hiss and screech and try to scratch at you. I know it’s a simple answer, but that’s sort of what the world did to us. Does that make sense?”

“Yes,” Gracelyn quickly answered.

Farm Guy sighed and got up from the table and went to the kitchen window and looked out. “I sit alone in this big house quite a lot and it gives me too much time to think about how we messed everything up. There was just too much greed, too much selfishness, and everyone’s priorities all askew… Do you know what askew means?”

“Like crooked?”

“Yes. Crooked.” He quickly moved back to the table and sat down again. “Think about this and you’ll understand more about what I mean by priorities all askew. Imagine there’s a man on one half of the world and he’s a rich man, a fat man, a fancy man, and he’s having dinner at a fancy restaurant with other rich and fancy people… And they order all kinds of drinks and appetizers and big dinners, and they all eat and eat and eat until they are so stuffed with food, that they are sick to their stomachs and can’t even finish it all.”

“They’re being pigs,” Gracelyn blurted out. “Like your cookie jar, but not in a good way.”

“Sort of, sort of like pigs. But then imagine that on the other side of the world, the same gosh darn world we share with each other, there’s other people that are wandering around in the dirt of their country and they look like skeletons because they don’t have enough food to eat… They don’t have enough to eat while the ones on the other side of the world have so much to eat, they end up throwing it away. It ends up in the garbage. Think about that.”

“It’s terrible.”

“It is terrible… And these poor people lie down at night but it’s too hard to sleep because they’re starving and starvation hurts. How can we even have a word such as starvation when there’s food just being tossed away?” He made a motion with his hand and had a look of disgust on his face.

“You know what I used to think about?” Gracelyn said.

“What’s that?”

“I always wondered this… If the people on the poor side of the world didn’t have enough food, why didn’t they just build themselves a restaurant and go to it and eat?”

Farm Guy looked at her and smiled. “You know, I used to think the very same thing.”


“Yep. Seems like a logical solution, right?”

“It does to me.”

“The only problem was,” Farm Guy began. “There were too many horrible people sitting in these high towers of polished glass and steel and they didn’t want the poor people to have restaurants because the poor people couldn’t pay for the food. And these horrible people who didn’t care sat at long tables in fancy rooms, and they talked about and plotted how they could squeeze more out of every man, woman, and child, until they died and left this Earth. And this was all very important to them, mind you, they took it very seriously. And instead of feeding and helping others less fortunate, they built great electric temples to house their food and their products as if they were gods, and they convinced the people they needed to worship what was ultimately useless. Miles upon miles upon miles of these temples were built, all over the world, and the people who worked in them were stuffed into a uniform and inducted into a culture of selling and serving. It was sold as an exciting career with unlimited growth potential… But it was ultimately a form of slavery. And it consumed them daily, sucked away their life just so they could suck out the lives of others… It was a tragic cycle of profit over people. That was their battle cry and that was a god damn big problem for the human race. Always was.”

He looked at the girl with some concern, hoping he wasn’t giving her more than she could handle, but Gracelyn sat attentive and wide eyed. “Do you know how I know all that, what I just said?” he asked her.


“I used to be one of those fools in the towers of polished glass and steel.”

“You were?”

“I was… And in the end, I lost everything that was important to me.”

“Is that why you’re all alone.”

“That’s why I’m all alone… Not that any of that matters anymore.”

“But you’re not alone now. I’m here.”

Farm Guy brightened. “And I’m so glad you are.”

Gracelyn wanted to hear more. “What else about the world went wrong?”

He chuckled sadly. “Too much. More than a lifetime could tell.”

“The wars?”

“That’s right… The wars. They elevated orange fools to positions of power and gave madmen weapons of mass destruction. And countries started stepping over lines just to kill and destroy and take, and for what? For what purpose? I never understood it. Never. And nobody did anything about it. Nobody cared.” He pointed a finger at her. “The gross evil came in the fact that we invested in war and killing and destruction. Billions upon trillions of dollars to rape each other to death with guns and bombs, to rip the earth apart and cover it in blood, and for what?… And all this goes on right under the nose of some caring creator?” He scoffed and looked at her. “I’m sorry if that was all a bit strong.”

“It’s okay. I can take it.”

“How old are you?”

“11. Nearing 12.”

“You come across much older than that.”

Gracelyn looked down, almost ashamed. “I guess in some ways I am.”

“But all we had to do, was cling to love and we didn’t,” Farm Guy continued. “We nurtured it so little. In our small circles, our big circles, across the entire globe. There was so much carelessness in the simple act of kindness.”

Farm Guy grew tired of listening to himself carry on in such a dark way. He glanced up at the clock on the wall, and then back to Gracelyn. “I’m afraid you’re really going to be late for school now,” he said. “You can just blame it on me.”

“It’s okay. I’ll just look at my time here with you as an… Educational experience. I may even do a report about you.”

“A report about me?”


“I look forward to that,” he said, and he stood up and went to get a plastic food container out of a cabinet. He filled it with chocolate chip cookies, snapped on the lid, and handed it to her.

“To take with you.”

“Thanks,” she said, and she got up from the table.

“No problem at all. You’re always welcome to come back if you want more.”

“You’ll be around?”

“I’ll be around.”

“That’s good. I was worried I might never see you again.”  

Farm Guy opened the back door and saw her out. He watched her for a long time as she walked away, as long as it took for her to completely fall away from his sight.


Bucky the Horse and the Gods of Radiation (End)

The group emerged from the forest and onto the side of a broken and buckled road littered with debris. There were cars and trucks abandoned and now resting askew with skeletons at the wheel and other bags of bones trying to crawl out backseat windows. On the opposite side of the road was an immense parking lot, bleached dead gray by the sun, trash gently swirling in a whimsical and radiated breeze among upturned and wayward shopping carts. Beyond the lot stood a long line of connected buildings, a corporation-created wall of consumption now stained by human greed and rebellion — a vacant strip mall with windows boarded, signs broken and hanging by wires, exteriors spray painted with swirling poetry of all that went wrong, and once perfectly manicured merchandise scattered on the walks out in front of the stores atop a sea of shattered glass.  

Linnifrid stepped forward. “What is this place?”

Bucky turned to her. “It is our new sanctuary,” he said. “Our new place of peace and purpose.”

“It doesn’t look peaceful at all,” Linnifrid said. “It looks like the undying love of cheap, sweat shop created products finally got the best of them. What an ignorant world it was… Full of ignorant, ill-informed people with priorities all opposite of any human value.”

Bucky was worried about his friend and this sudden onset of depression and negativity she was experiencing. It wasn’t like Linnifrid at all, he thought. “How could a world with you in it be as bad as you say,” the horse said. “That’s nonsense.”

“Is it, Bucky? What’s the point of going on in a world such as this? I’ve completely given up hope on people. People are awful. They’re selfish, greedy, hateful… Ugh! They’ll never survive…Obviously. Just look around. I wish I had been born on a different planet… Or not born at all.”

“Linnifrid!” Bucky snorted. “Please don’t talk like that. What would I have done without you? What would your Papa have done without you?”

“You would have all been just fine without me. The whole world would have been just fine without me!” Linnifrid said, and then she started to cry, and she walked away from the group toward the abandoned, busted up strip mall.

“Wait!” Bucky cried out as he trotted after her. “You can’t just run off into the unknown. It’s not safe for a young woman to be alone in a world such as this.”

Linnifrid stopped in her tracks and turned to face Bucky, pointing a finger, angry. “You got that right, Bucky. That’s the whole problem. Arrogant, judgmental men and their animals standing on our necks, denying us basic human rights while they wave around their little wieners and clutch their holy edicts.” She spread her arms wide before her. “And look what it got you. A dead world. Way to go, assholes.”

“Please don’t blame me for the misguided actions of others,” Bucky said. “I agree with you. Women should have ruled the planet all along.”

“Well, it’s too late for that now, isn’t it,” Linnifrid asserted, and she started to walk again.

“Please don’t go,” Bucky cried out. “I have something very important to show you.”

She turned and huffed, folding her arms. “What is it?”

“Follow me.”

They walked side-by-side across the trash-strewn field of asphalt. The sun was hoisting itself high in the sky, there was a slight breeze, a bird dropped out of the sky and landed at Linnifrid’s feet. She looked down and watched it twitch before taking its last breath.

At the end of the strip mall was a standalone building: square, modern, sun-bleached, with large windows. Unruly green foliage lined the walk leading to the front entrance. Off to the side, there was a faded green canopy over a patio rung by wrought iron fencing. There were tables and chairs, all void of people.

Linnifrid cocked her head to one side as she looked at a green and white sign on the building. It read STARBUCKS, but someone had sloppily painted a Y’ in between the K and the S.

“Starbucky’s?” Linnifrid said.

“What do you think?” Bucky asked.

I don’t get it,” the young woman answered. “What is this?”

“It’s my coffee shop,” Bucky boasted.

“YOUR coffee shop? Bucky, this is a Starbucks.”

“It used to be a Starbucks,” the horse was quick to point out. “Now it is abandoned, because of the apocalypse, and everything else that went wrong.”

“So, you just took it upon yourself to commandeer an abandoned Starbucks?”

“Yes. With the help of my little radiated friends, of course.”

“I don’t think you can do that,” Linnifrid said.

“They’re not coming back for it,” Bucky said in his defense. “I thought you would be proud of me for doing something positive with my life. We are offering a valuable service here that brings joy to others.”

“I just… I mean. Does it even work?”

“Yes. We’ve managed to clean the place up, get all the equipment working… And we’ve even begun cultivating our own coffee beans.”

“But, what about customers?” Linnifrid wondered. “There’s no one to serve.”

“On the contrary,” Bucky asserted. “You’d be surprised how many people come through here — aimless wanderers, frightened widows, orphaned children, the soldiers and resistance fighters, and all sorts of other various breeds of survivors — all of them in search of a delicious cup of hot coffee, or a refreshing iced alternative if they so desire it. We’ve even begun offering delectable pastries. We’re all about meeting the needs of our customers.”

It was just then that the band of radiated little people marched up to them, impatient and grumbling. The leader stepped forward from the pack. “Well, what the fuck is going on, Bucky? Are we going to open up the coffee shop or just stand here and play with our balls?”

Bucky sighed. “Mick, could you please watch the language in front of the little lady here?”

Mick looked down, embarrassed. “Oh, sorry about that. Guess I wasn’t thinking.”

“But yes,” Bucky said. “Let’s go make some coffee!”

Once inside, Bucky and the gods of radiation went to work. They all moved very quickly and soon the aroma of delicious coffee filled the shop and people began coming in the door.

Linnifrid sat at a table by a window and watched all the hustle and bustle. A little while later, Mitch came strolling up to the table and proudly set a cup of coffee in front of her.

“What’s this?” Linnifrid wanted to know.

Mitch put his hands up in front of himself. He was being somewhat awkward and shy. “Um, well. I feel kind of bad about swearing in front of you. I mean, I’m usually a nice guy, but today I just… Well, you know how it is with the end of the world and everything. I just wanted to buy you a cup of coffee… I mean, I, I didn’t actually buy it, I just made it because you know I work here…”

“Okay,” Linnifrid said, interrupting his nervous rant. “You can stop explaining. Thank you for the coffee.” She took a sip and brightened up. “Mmm, this is wonderful. What is it?”

The small man shifted uncomfortably. “It’s my own special creation. I call it a Mitchucinno.”

Linnifrid smiled. “A Mitchucinno, huh? This just may be the best coffee drink I ever had.”

“You really think so?”

“I do.”

“Wow. That’s fantastic. I’m so glad you like it.” Mitch scratched at his round head and thought hard, a sudden serious look coming over his face. “Could I ask you a question?”

“I suppose,” Linnifrid answered with some curiosity.

“Would you like to go out on a date with me?”

Linnifrid had just taken a sip of her coffee and the liquid suddenly exploded out of her mouth like a high-pressure hose had just burst. Then she started laughing. “Absolutely not,” she said. “Are you kidding me?” she said through a chuckle.

Mitch’s face crumbled and his head drooped. “Oh,” is all he managed to say. “Forgive me for bothering you,” he added, and he turned and started to walk away.

Linnifrid called after him. “I’m going to rule the world someday soon,” she cried out with purpose. “And the heel of my shoe will be pressed into your throat to hold you down — and you will remember me always, wee man, as I have remembered the false liberty and blatant injustices you brought upon us.”


Check out all the episodes of this fiction serial on Cereal After Sex. If you haven’t already, sign up below with your email address to receive updates of new posts. As always, thanks for reading and supporting independent writers and publishers.

Orange Plush Peru

It’s such a bigger world than we realize
we tend to ignore the full scope
of all that is alive…
while we’re busy shopping
someone else is starving,
while we are walking down the aisle
someone else is in need of love,
and when we are crying
surely, someone else is crying harder.

while we drive our cars
someone is walking barefoot,
while we watch our TV screens
someone is looking out a window at the rain,
while we adorn our hands with jewelry
someone else is scratching at the disease,
and while we relax in our comfortable homes with the AC blasting away and our sedated carcasses lumped down in the cushions stuffing our faces with fattening snack foods talking about others behind their backs and laughing at all those who are less fortunate because they are ugly or poor or homeless or uneducated… We should be looking at ourselves from the inside out.

And before we get too comfortable tonight — think of those on the other side of the world.

Have you heard of 15 items or less?

I was wide awake and dreaming in the express lane at the food store.

“That’s 15 items or less mam, can’t you read the sign? It’s all lit up there in green and white in the grocery line.”

She had more like 15 times 15 items in her cart and damn coupons on top of that. I could tell the wild-haired hippie clerkie was getting all screwed up in his mojo by her lack of consideration for the rules and etiquette of grocery shopping.

I could tell the guy ahead of me, the guy with the black plastic basket with just a few things in it, wanted to punch her in the face. I could tell he was a bit peeved with all his heavy sighing and mumblings under his breath which soon became audible to the world over the loudspeaker:

“You dumb bitch!”

So, as I said, I was wide awake and dreaming in the express lane at the food store. My life clock was on hold. I looked around and all I saw was candy bars and flustered clerkies running here and there because they looked all short-handed and stuff and I guess that was because of the wildfire and everyone on fire and dying.

So, the world stopped inside of me whilst it spun like a swarm of horny hornets all around me. I thought about the universe while I looked at chocolate bars. We know the universe is there – but where exactly is THERE. Where IS the universe? Chocolate bars with almonds. Coupon-clipping clods taking up time and space. Why am I so worn out and disheveled?

The beep, beep, beep of the checkout lanes buzzed around in my head. I was there, but I was not there. I was thinking outside of the box, I always think outside of the box, way outside of the box, because I do not like the box. The box is full of narrow-minded doinks easily swayed by false flags and idiot box propaganda. 642 channels and there is nothing on.

I waited and waited, grasping my shopping cart like a baby carriage, gently rocking the carton of organic milk and bag of donuts into a restful sleep.

I noticed how her inflated flesh was packed tightly into her polyester, frantic pants. She seemed annoyed that the clerkie wasn’t doing his job properly when he slammed her hunk of watermelon down on the counter.

“Please be careful with my watermelon! I want to speak to your supervisor!”

Are you fucking kidding me?

If it wasn’t against the law, I would have pulled up a couch and coffee table and sparked one up right then and there. But then everything is against the law, isn’t it? Slamming someone’s watermelon is a violation of someone’s rights, right? Everything is a violation except for the ones who create the code of violations and place them in our heads and warn us that they are violations.

It’s 2:06 a.m. and I cannot sleep. It’s too hot to sleep. I have words tumbling around in my head that make no sense and I need to just tap them out for right now.

529 words, no make that 531 words, no … 538 words … of blah.

I am looking at the spine of a book on one of my bookshelves: The Day After Roswell.

 Turn to page 137 and the seventh sentence will be your future:

“He told the New York Times in 1955 that the nations of the world will have to unite, for the next war will be an interplanetary war.”

Just what I need, interplanetary war.

Pink Shirts in Cuckoo Land

it’s laughing about a pink shirt that matters

Pink shirt hanging on a rack in hot land Nashland 

the mannequins greet with greater smiles than the real ones 

corporate propaganda BS blurbs hanging, dangling all around the world 

to coax the penniless to remain penniless, enslaved, inflamed, amazed by the threads sewn by the dead in third-world jungle towns of lumber and dirty sandwiches 

tussled jungle juice at the straw hut bar 

afro shot glasses watching scrambled CNN

machine gun toddies burning flags, slathering the bed bugs with flames

the world all-around a crooked mess

the hate, the slain, the empty and ignorant souls making godless claims of god

it’s all the same

from end to end of Amorika

this global force for greed

brown sewing fingertips

pin-pricked like diabetic blood

so the PR smiles drip on

the glossy lives of commercialized bliss drip on

my wife’s beautiful Sonic Ocean Water eyes drip on

and she is my sanctuary

love is thy sanctuary

family is thy sanctuary

for the world has offered so little

but yet into the world she fell like an angel

all the rest is glittery ash

it’s this bond of love that matters

it’s laughing about a pink shirt that matters

it’s collapsing all the doubts and false dreams like a circus tent, kick out the poles, let the world blow

to give of myself is all I have left

to wrap myself in and all around her 

to furiously love like fire

despite the chill of the Earth