This is the time
When you understand
That no one is coming.
There is no horse in the distance.
No woman dressed like she’s in a mystery novel, lurking in the final train car,
about to turn your life into a hero’s journey with an ash of her cigarette.
This is also the time to understand that there is no hero’s journey.
And no heroes.
The protagonists are only the ones who the author is looking at anyway, but the world is full of
other stories. I mean, people.
Look at all of them.
Not one of them is coming.
And no one is waiting.
Holding one half of a golden amulet
Or a locket
Or a sentence.
Finish your own sentences.
& Who decided half of something couldn’t be its own whole?
This is the time
To stop looking behind you, to stop peering at the trail for breadcrumbs,
To stop checking the apps with the faces you want to hold in front of you
And shake like an eight ball until you get a SIGNS POINT TO YES.
Signs point to no. Shaking them only turns them into monstrous lions, golden and magnificent
The lions will eat and digest you, every time. They’re lions.
Trying to show you that no one — heroes or monsters, especially illusions — can save you.
No one is on their way.
That woman on the train with the cigarette is an actor, and she’s married.
That horse in the distance is like a star: by the time you see it, it’s already dead.
The horse is dead.
Grieve, but put your shoes on.
If you want to live,
Sarah Duncan (she/her) is a queer cis white neurodivergent mad femme joy-seeker/maker living in Boston who writes poems and plays, sings, acts, teaches, organizes, and sometimes even tells jokes on stages. Duncan received her MFA in Poetry and Hybrid Forms at the University of Wyoming in 2018. Her poetry has been published by Claudia Rankine’s The Racial Imaginary Institute, Souvenir Lit Journal, Heavy Feather Review, and the anthology, States of the Union, among others. Her chapbook, Week/End, was published in 2019 by Headmistress Press.