Pellets felt like rainfall against my now marooned palms. I ran forward as my chest ran open. I slipped on my insides screaming cherry. My face made contact with the floor, separating my nose from its original position. The room full of silence, echoes of fragmented metal sliding back and forth from left to right wall — a sawed-off memory with sleeping powder at the blast point. Slowing moments hidden under the rusted metal auditorium chairs, bolted to the floor, in and out of consciousness; I’m bolted to the floor.

In this twilight, I remember a poem:

These bone shanks will not wake immaculate
To trumpet-toppling dawn of doomstruck day:
They loll forever in colossal sleep;
Nor can God’s stern, shocked angels cry them up
From their fond, final, infamous decay.

I decay and filter into the flooring long enough to pass the day, flying into the sky in a heaven’s lift. Dancing above my soul, I felt the tubes filling my body. I awake in the sterile white, covered in medical wrapping, mentally discussing my where-abouts. Family and friends cuddling around my unpadded bed frame, gripping to me as to not let go of my teenage life — as if they were supporting my weight and preventing a fall into rings. I stabilized for a moment the realize the tragedy of those brief seconds. I just now had time to breath. The thin blanket covering my chest was more comforting than I could have evaluated. I was not forced to decay.

Outside, the winter cold shows pellets in the sky, but I am safe from the icy snowfall. I am safe from the fear of slamming doors; I am safe from the fear of red rivers, but I will never forget it. I will protect, but I will not forget.


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