I see the bodies riddle the street.
Cold and stiff, they lay broken on the cracked cobblestone sidewalk emitting moans for help.
I hold my coat close to my body, feeling the heat from my heart warm the fabric of my coat as I press my arm to my chest.
I draw a sharp breath, and December air freezes the inside of my lungs.
I am hard, I am heavy.
I am indestructible, unbreakable.
I am a pillar standing tall for generations despite cracks in the foundation around me.
I am the structure that kept up,
I am the symbol,
The landmark travelers regard as the sign that they can stop holding their breath,
For they are home.
I approach the crumpled figures,
My eyes passing by the broken flesh, the bones exposed, the black vomit that has dried on their chins and their hay-like hair.
I take a knife to the vein below my wrist and brace myself for the adjacent pain.
My dark as wine blood flows from the stick straight opening and pools into the palm of my hand.
I gently bring his mouth to my hand by gently cupping the back of his skull, fingers burrowing through his hair—the first touch of a woman he has had in years—and tipping his face towards the life drink I hold.
He drinks and I see the color, in seconds, begin to light his gray face.
Alas I feel myself turn gray,
As the color leaves the ends of my golden hair, the pink on the pads of my feet.
Take this cup from me, Lord,
For I long to be the crumpled body on the floor.
The body carried in a stronger one’s arms.
The one whose head is picked up gently—the one who receives—not the one that gives.