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his heart has forgotten how to feel.
it is desiccated, a dry streambed
at the foot of a deep canyon
in a years’ long drought.
fear opened a chasm inside him
and a cold wind blew through it.

he suppresses the aggression
that rises through him, as if
his whole frame were cabled
and plugged into a wall
socket of violence.

it curls his hands into fists
and twists his insides so
that he can hardly breathe,
and his smile tastes bitter with malice.

while they watch him through
locked windows, tremble and brace
for the onset of his wrath,
he longs only to be as empty as
a beach swept clean by the tide.