seconds that stretch
of intense fear, desperation, hopelessness,
like the long, spindly fingers of a cartoon witch
carefully making their way
along a neck, jawline, the corner of a mouth
or the yellowed, creaking vines of a hot yet sunless greenhouse
that somehow move
faster than you can breathe.
i am losing faith
in my city,
in those who i once believed kept me upright,
withstanding and steady.
i am reminded of the toxicity of humanity,
of all the ways we deconstruct one another,
take advantage of the pains
that sit deep beneath our ribs,
tangled in exposed nerve endings
that never seem to stop hurting,
and of the reasons we all say
whether this bridge, held by pity and guilt,
on its own
or i leave it to burn,
i will lose everything i spent my life trying to save.