Am I alive? I was told I was but there was no way
of proving it. After years of documenting
the various parking lots and waiting rooms
I’d spent so much of my life skulking around
the edges of, after years of withering
under the condescending smiles of the Shirley girls
as they posed coyly at the fringes
of their color-corrected ropes,
smiling as if at a little boy lighting his first cigarette,
the earth shrugged and let us slip through its fingers.
I was already about half buried
when the slide commenced.
Never stood a chance. Only choice
was to try to eat my way out, chew a path
through my neighbors, my comrades, my fellow working stiffs.
It could always be worse. Even at my lowest point
I could still feel the squish and crush of bodies beneath me.
I never hit the true bottom. What was down there, anyways?
Bedrock, concrete? A metal grate
to allow the blood and pulp to drain?
An ocean of magma? I look up
but my view is blocked by asses, backs,
flopping appendages, fingers scrabbling to climb.
I no longer hear the low, constant drone.
I catch glimpses of light but it’s not the sun,
it’s the flame of something burning high above,
sending down an occasional spray of sparks
and we open our mouths so they may singe our tongues.