by Antonio Vargas-Nieto

but how quickly some doors swing open while

others remain shut     must be the wind

you are not a psychologist but everyone is too afraid to tell you so

must be nice having all the answers     seeing through everyone

my mind moves to transparencies     projectors     classrooms     clouds

of chalk     mandy moore's candy playing on the bus ride home

saccharine     viscous melodies but also chemical heat sensations

from licking my hot cheeto stained fingers clean then looking

at the valleys in my fingerprints and thinking is THIS what makes me unique????

i'm thinking of moments when grade school bestfriends would betray me

before my own eyes seeing the reading rug pulled from under me

in adulthood it happens still one of my most vulnerable moments was

in an expo center turned maze in downtown milwaukee filling out paperwork

for my second covid vaxine you, my bestfriend were ahead of me and

you hurriedlyfilledyourpaperworkandwithoutsayingaword you

sprinted to the line i saw you get up and everything disappeared

the carpet     the walls     the words     there was only The Void

ever expanding between you and me my inner flame faded

only a wisp of smoke and charred wick remained

it's probably me honestly     every time     i get it

i'm weird     and quiet     until i'm not     often confused

for smart definitely sensitive i don't trust my brain enough

to do mental math but i plot     juggle words     set the

table this spring i won't wait for someone to bring me flowers

Antonio Vargas-Nieto is a Mexican born, Milwaukee raised writer and emulsion enthusiast.
@antonioUV (twitter) & @aantonioov (instagram)