i wish i could say
i made it out

but that would be a lie.

i didn’t just watch
the monster skimming
the endless ocean floor
of his impossible eyes,

i chased it.

despite warnings,
i dove in
after it–

after HIM.

we fought the tides
as much as
we fought the truth.

we fought each other
even more.

after failing
to drown me,
he disposes of me
on the shore.

where blood
competes with shadows
for ownership of the land
beneath my feet.

ever vigilant lest he return.

i now recall–
all those deranged and
deformed personal
performances —

tragic horror shows and
silent musicals to
the captive audience

born of this sick,
painful, pointless

at least
the dance is over.
the battles have ended.

he retreats
into the darkness
while i forfeit the sea.

i struggle to stand
with small hands
clutching my own.

two confused faces
look up at me,
the wounds,
the guilt.

it is their eyes
that keep me
from looking back
at the man
we leave behind.

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