I’d heard of the yellow brick road. I saw The Wizard of Oz when it first came out. I never thought I’d find myself standing here. The bricks aren’t yellow, more of a grey, and the air hangs heavy and full of electricity.
Trees aren’t the same. They’re monstrous and dead. Orbs of fruitful memories drop to land. They scatter, running from the light, but I catch a few. And what delight! They’re flexible and sticky. They play back cherished memories.
But what of the ones that run? They roll from the path, away from the sun, into the trees, obscured by dead leaves.
I chase them down, determined to know.
What is it these scared orbs hold?
In the darkness they reveal things unknown. Small strings which take hold. They pull me farther, abandoning the path, as they trap me under a forest wrath.
These memories aren’t cherished. Forgotten and unloved, they demand immediate resolve. I find one after the other, a path none should take.
I abandon handfuls of the light and cling to the dark. They pull at my strings, they break my heart.
Then I jerk awake, just an old woman in a bed. Little memory of the dreams I’ve had. Nothing rushes back, nothing remains. It’s just me and a window and brick wall company.
I exist in jagged spaces. Like the frayed strands of jeans ripped between my thighs or the breaks in the outlines of unfinished tattoos. Art that doesn’t cover my walls, instead propping up dust in corners, or bits and pieces of a life I forgot to throw away all speak to my permanent displacement.
I exist in the breaks between puffs on a cigarette, in the spaces between words. Never fully pulling myself up and away. I remain suffocated by the sheer amount of air. I exist for no one, not even myself, and fail to connect the lines between here and there.
My reflection, red lips curled around a cigarette or smoky eyes hiding thoughts much more sinister, feigns surprise though I don’t feel anything more than recognition.
I’ve become so accustomed that I can’t even claim myself anymore.