I know how quickly a lightning bolt can strike, can defuse you. Like the moment in the middle of the highest rope bridge, fingers clutching the netting, swaying blood in tense veins, earthquake rumbling beneath you as fearless children rush past. Wanting to scream at them, [can't they see you're dying?] but breath must be savored & embarrassment of such a display of terror can kill. Or when keys rattle in a doorknob, when faint footsteps seem to follow you on the road where the streetlights have been shot out. When a voice on the end of a late night phone call tells you to brace yourself. Like falling asleep & immediately jolting awake because hypnagogic visions always entail a cliff where you suddenly lose your balance. There's a figure, bewitching, twitching in the corner -- it's familiar & disturbing, & a shower of sparks in your side-eye field is a sign that your neural impulses, all firing at once, are prepped to begin their consumption of your total control.
Jennifer Patino is an Ojibwe poet living in Las Vegas. She has had work featured in both online and print, including A Cornered Gurl, Half Mystic Press, Font Magazine, and L’Éphémère Review. She shares poetry at www.thistlethoughts.com and on Twitter @thoughtthistles.