In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

The Virus

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Credit: netsafe.org.nz

“A virus she had,” is all that was spoken
one that addled the brain, blurred sight
and entirely enervated. A toxin floated
on a pin head slid down to the pricking
point and stabbed her, the poison flow,
its silent torrent of spinning warheads
secretly shot through her blood. She,
in substance, infected by invisible vile,
deceptively imperceptibly close, inside,
it’s like a secret stalker gone mad or
an embezzling friend, a trusted insider
and adviser to the company president.

After it struck, she felt the beginning
sensed the destruction, a slight itching
her skin, which escalated to a burning
atop the nerve endings that swelled up
and made her hands twitch with tremor
a palsied pantomime of a confused cry
“help!” or an indecipherable wave ‘bye.
And eyes dried up, had nowhere to turn
for the lack of tears to lubricate. Her lids
rasped heat across them until they were
forced open. And just as she felt flame
belching forth from her ears and feet,
trying to listen and run, the big balloon,
inflamed with too much floating-ful gas,
the bloated being she had become yet
the cellular spread like ink on water or
heartfelt lies to a congregant, popped
and shrunk, shriveled to the ground
with no chance of sky born flight again.

She could no longer hope about falling
and cashing checks and trips to a cafe
or her dreams of graduating cum laude.
She was downed. No wind could carry
scraps to the trash can, beyond repair.
A low creeping agent kept repeating it,
again and again and again, sucking out
her cells with lies and fleas, a skin fleck
disease. The potency was in a constant,
the endless duplication and replication,
ever in her face, in her mind, her heart
with words that buzzed and whirred and
shrieked love and calamitous pitiful fear.
She could not help but move her fingers
this way and turn her head a quarter turn
that way, and smile that sly forged smile.

It was insidious.
The antidote clear.
Only it was too late.
The virus never left her.
Even after her skin cooled
and her mind clarified
her body reformed.
It blemished
like a scar
stained
rusted
ruin.

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