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Outside the clinic, summer hangs the night
like wet laundry. Marti holds a cigarette
with paper fingers, her hands
and shoulders rustle, a leaf pile slowly
eroding in the wind.
Answers stand inside like windmills.
Coping is stirred into cheap coffee,
glazed over complimentary pastries.
It’s hard to boil her life down
to a textbook and weekly meetings.
She’ll take the black hand
the smoke offers her, suck it down
until her lungs are tight and painful,
a last gasp of air.
Inside David wrings his hands,
a madman, his knuckles bobbing
like whitecaps on his skin.
He sees the zombies
around the circle, the half-eaten meat
to their cheeks and hands, their eyelids
thin and dark.
His future keeps the car running outside.
It’s laying on the horn good and hard,
revs the engine with a heavy foot.
Sweat slumps down
his neck. He’s noisy when
he leaves. His chair shudders
across the tile floor. The door
chuffs shut with a click.
Outside her smoke gloves his hand,
strings him along to her car,
the engine running.