Everyday Shadows

You who feel
A sense of comfort
Of safety
In your everyday existence
Your routine.
The milk is always fresh at breakfast.
The steak is always medium rare at dinner.

Consider the child
Who never looks straight ahead.
Head on a swivel,
Her peripheral vision
As keen as that of a
New York City pigeon.
Small spaces and
Quiet knocks
Leave her gasping for air and
No one to turn to.

Consider the man,
Whose life is orderly and routine
Yet he never sits with his back to the room
Fearful that his shadow will one day grow weary
Rise up and
Swallow him whole.
He tries to love
And let others love him.
Yet there are days when his flesh begins to burn from the inside out
It is all he can do to keep from tearing at his skin
Damaging himself beyond repair.

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Consider the woman
Who walks with a seeming confidence
Hips swaying with a sense of purpose
Yet her hand is buried in her purse
Clutching at a small vial of liquid mace.
Without it, she fears
Everyone will see what she sees in the mirror
A haunted soul
Weak, Ugly
Scarred beyond repair.

I only offer you these words
For we walk amongst you
She is the woman in the perfectly fitted pencil skirt who
Seemed to lean in and brush up against you in the subway
Sending shivers up your spine.
He is the nice-looking guy with the sad eyes who
Smiles and says good morning
You wish you knew his name – ask him.
She is the child that glanced back at you as you hurried by
Eyes brimming with emptiness
You sensed it
She had a secret to tell…

But you didn’t listen.