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and in his bed he lies,
legs broken scattered like pasta
bent like a bicycle frame, knees touching
hand folded over hand like a raccoon
disaffectionate

he took his dreamgirl to the senior prom
because he asked
she smelled felt acted tasted exactly like he'd imagined
down to the last boring letter

he got the promotion at his very first job
because he took three-minute showers wore suits and took lunch at his desk
every day for six years (except terrible silence Sundays)
only sounds are kettle whistles and washing machines

he bought the dream house in Wisconsin
finished the book he was writing
went back to school and completed his doctorate
meeting his expectations with no chance of failure
not even a little

every October he stares at fallen leaves with gloom-glaze in his eye
and wonders how the hell he's supposed to define a tree anymore

"You don't have to run," he told himself once too many times
"You should commit to your suffering, be uncomfortable and learn something"

he stares at his ceiling cracks bumps holes imperfections
tries to manipulate them into shapes in his mind
tries to turn every pattern he sees into a frown

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