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Leaving Shadows Behind


The neon light hums its discontent

At three o’clock in the morning.

It and the sound of my heel-toe-clap

On the pavement is the only noise

That breaks the humid late summer air.


Vague shadows of myself dance before me,

I catch them, swallow them, and leave them behind.

This routine is repeated every ten seconds

As I pass lamp post after lamp post.


I left her shadow at an all-night diner,

Her fork suspended in mid-air

The yoke from a bit of egg dripping, was the only motion

As I told her I was leaving for good.


I had enough, I told her,

This is the last time you can look at me

And think I should love you the way you want me to.


You can shape sugar cookies into little hearts and red sprinkles

But you can’t shape me into your arms.

I smiled to myself to hide the sadness, as I caught my shadow,

swallowed it and left it behind.


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