by Keren Darancette

That decade we spent trapped in a smoke cloud. We gathered beneath the black ceilings of the bar, joined hands as one mass of sadness 

one destruction. 

We became dingy birds, caged and yellow, we sat in our cages hung deep in the mine waiting to die, to absorb the poison before it hit others, so they could live. We liked it that way, full of 

our duty. 

We wanted to die slow and quiet, folding into the dark of the paint that covered the nicotine walls and familiar notes on the jukebox. We were martyrs on broken barstools, heroes who snorted coke, sucked cocks, and pissed the bed. Each day closer to death 

or rebirth. 

Keren is a librarian and freelance editor from Southern California. When she’s not helping students with research or marking up papers she’s hanging out with the cat and reading up on the cosmos. More poems can be found at

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