and who’s to say…
maybe some tremor
of what you called you
may wield the sceptre
instead of the pick and shovel
on your next orbit

but what you call you
won’t be there

don’t hope for that

and should this trouble us?

we’re barely here
when we’re here

we drive this highway
our eyes fixed
on the faraway horizon
or shooting glances
in the rearview

while the low hanging fruit
of the orchard whizzes by
just outside the window

I remember once,
you chastised me,
for a drunken,
post-breakup rant
I posted on Facebook, saying,
“Don’t give her the satisfaction.”
But though you’re above
this sort of thing,
the screaming,
the public self-mutilation…
the cryptic memes
keep appearing on your page,
like poorly disguised fishhooks,
and if I weren’t still so wary
of what awaits me
in your little boat,
I might take a bite.
we soon learn
that the greater world
is more like the schoolyard
than we were led to believe
and we must maintain
the charade
the stiff upper lip
even when everyone’s lying
and everyone else
knows it
and part of the act includes
openmouthed surprise
and stunned silence
when someone finally cracks
and publicly displays
what the rest of us
reveal only to our dogs
our dashboards
or scream from inside
our tiny soundproof rooms
Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse. He has been published in Constellate Magazine, Poppy Road Review, and has an upcoming piece in The American Journal Of Poetry.

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