• i used to speak clearly.
    i used to say things that made sense, that sounded right, that felt more
    like the bridge before the chorus and a little less like rattlesnakes twisting
    their way from my just-too-short grasp, a sigh of nostalgic wind rustling in one
    ear and out the other, nothing left but a vague echo. like a bridge, there was a
    beginning. there was a middle. and then it ended.
    that was before all these perilous non-sequiturs wound themselves into a knot
    and dipped down my dusty throat, catching an illegal u-turn at the end of the
    dead-end alley that is my spine. the rope sprung out from my tainted lips and
    pulled them back to tie a bow behind my ears, double-tied and irreversible.

    that was before this new grin stumbled over me lying in the street and carried
    me home. it was before i knew when to fold and when to check, before i knew when
    to go all-in.