fool’s paradise

sometimes my feet pound november concrete,
and i stretch my fingers out in the cold and
wonder if i am really here or if this is the
dream. i spin and spin in circles and the deja vu
flickers like static on a computer screen.
i forget to notice so much of my simulation:
how the sun boils down, slinking across the sky
at the same angle night after night. how
the water ripples, sparkling in sunshine,
dripping darkly along my scalp and frying my
shoulder blades. how all my motions are taken
into account. i stomp my foot and the wood panels
crack and groan. i bang on glass, and it fractures.
it’s the ease of the gas pedal, the twist of the faucet,
the slam of the door. it’s how nothing i touch
is ever the same as it was.

and still i am ghostly, like light between your fingers.
still i scream without an echo. i say your name
until i am allergic to it, and still you stare
into the patterned clouds. still i curl into sheets that mold
to the shape of my spine, crossing into a dreamland
that feels more like an awakening.

i dreamed i was clutching at water droplets, letting them
evaporate against my skin. i dreamed of a luscious wasteland,
the grass sunburnt, the sky losing its glow. pressed against
that window, peering out across my fool’s paradise,
i knew that this world could not exist only in my head, neurons
sizzling through the night. this was existence, something
that cannot be simulated. this was corporeal, blades
of grass scraping my ankles. i have flipped: i dream
of tangibility and aliveness, and i wake up
to a celestial illusion where the rivers stops flowing
as soon as i look the other way.

Zoe Cunniffe is a poet and singer-songwriter from Washington, DC. She has previously been published in literary journals such as Velvet Fields, Trouvaille Review, Meniscus and The Showbear Family Circus, and she can be found on Instagram at @there.are.stillbeautifulthings.

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