"Watching You Pretend" by Kristine Brown

 

to say you’ve never felt

your chest shrivel up

tear apart like the last

remittance envelope for

the year’s second ride

on a two-faced ambulance

 

I sincerely envy

the upright curtness

of false confidence

 

over-rehearsed, sure

but repeated enough

that I’d walk away

if tasked with this

jaunty piano piece

I’d manage without

some meted grin

 

you’ve got your vodka

while I shake right after

the smallest macchiato

and while you pilot

with everyone’s trust

we’ve both agreed

on creaking balconies

that wonky curbsides

keep you walking straight

 

if only more people

feared less of life’s

impolite clarifications