the world shrinks to a box

containing only me

protecting, veiling

so he cannot see me

but also

when he finds me

stares at me with fevered eyes

I cannot see him

the world becomes a quiet box

gray at the edges

black in surround sound

like I’m afloat in nothing

or deep space

or the abyss

a blank window

a mirror

revealing, unveiling

hideous truths

and sulfurous words

etched into my tongue

the box recedes and I emerge

from a puddle of shame and fear

not reborn

with forked tongue

and sharp teeth

not yet

but soon

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