The boredom grew monstrous, made fun of my emptiness,
looked me in the eye, "Who are you when you don’t work?"
The endlessness, bringing back by breaking back, a moat seeking
remorse at sea. Its fish trap closed.
"Who are you when you're not with people?"
There is a falling away around me and I stand on edge.
I cannot follow, on order from above.
The lightness in my head is the voice of a flickering candle.
I have lost all my opinions, I utter me.
As much as I suspect candles, I light another bug-headed one.
I am inflamed, hot tears cinch other people's fears with my pity.
Every rose on the bush does not do what I'd hoped
and every bud that dries forces out my relevance.
Now I understand why my eyes are circular, so they can stay in place.
Jacqueline Schaalje has published short fiction and poetry in the Massachusetts Review, Talking Writing, Frontier Poetry, Grist, among others. Her stories and poems were finalists for the Epiphany Prize, in the Live Canon and New Guard Competitions. She earned her MA in English from the University of Amsterdam.