my stubby legs dangle over the edge
the cool water shimmies across my arid skin
this bridge protects me from my searchers.
their erroneous calls are
attempting to deceive me,
the wryness in my brothers’ voices betraying them
lies easily being sensed,
as if I myself am the transparent water that
flows in this creek.
their voices come closer

I pull myself out of the murky stream
the water as nebulous as I.
the chill of creek water rolling down my legs importing goosebumps
the crackle of the gravel and dirt sounds at the touch of my shoes
my foot blunders and a boisterous squeak emits an echo

their footsteps hault
they bicker over whether or not they heard a sound
I duck into a hiding spot
the sharp sawgrass slicing at my exposed skin
burgundy blood begins to bubble onto my scrawny arms
the pre-pubescent legs of my search party appear
I quietly observe them in the shadows
their gazes wander from the other side of the creek
to the brush I am immersed in,
they don't seem to consider that I am there
their disappointed sighs fan the walls
they don't know I'm here
they can't get me

today, I sit along that creek
my hearing blinded by my headphones
my senses stimulated by the unnecessary caw of crows,
the continuous hum of water
sounding like rain pitter-pattering
on the worn roof of my house
like the stream of water pouring out of
my bathroom’s lime-stained bath faucet
sticks poking at me seem to be waking me up to reality
but as I watch dead leaves ruggedly thrown further
further away
further from something
as if the only true meaning of them is to only be pushed further

but I can’t grasp them
and I can only watch
watch them float away
to never be seen again

why is that?
that when something can be erected into the world
it is pushed away
or is meant to become a memory
a vacant hole that was once fulfilled by someone
and now is hardly occupied by another person
as if they were a substitute
as if they were some pawn in a game of chess
as if it were all meant to be
thrown away

so the slate was all meant to be cleared
when the slate was already clear of any turmoil
but once built me has been erased
and I’m only left with
substitutes and the contest
but how is it permitted for the original rules to be bent?

changed without my consent,
without my mere approval
without me even noticing that my bishops have been replaced by pawns
the only thing that has stayed is
the concept of the competition
and the frame of the game

this past;
these memories,
they've been altered
the game pieces switched
and as I hide from the predators searching for me;
I don't know if this creek can protect me like before
this stream can’t hold so much torment

I haul myself out of the polluted water
I hastily retreat from the reach of my attackers
it is no longer my brothers hounding me,
something peculiar.
something treacherous.

now this creek carries poison,
the content plaguing this neighborhood.
the elderly man who crafted the barriers
that once kept the poison from escaping
has fallen ill
and his humorous wife no longer bares a cheshire grin
only a sad smile to portray her hurt.
without the man keeping maintenance,
the walls break open
like a dam being burst during a flood
the walls of the bridge canopy now studded in graffiti
the stream flooding high
due to the snow from the previous snowstorm melting
I don’t think I can hide this time.

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