by Ren Koppel Torres

The words seize you like a jagged shard of seashell lodged

into a fleshy, sandy foot;

you should have worn your fraying shoes,

but you wanted the semblance of liberty.

They understand you like a hall of mirrors;

the looking glass bears your false, distorted face,

but those melted eyes are close enough to truth

that your pulse quickens and the carnival crowd

blurs out of focus.

They capture you like a cup

placed over a querulous spider on a granite countertop;

with your eight eyes you can see two futures;

will you be crushed, embossed into oblivion

by a wad of paper towel, or will the captor’s knobby, shaking hands

carry you hurriedly out to the Wild?

Of course, the Wild knows nothing of wilderness; Wild

knows only a balcony with a sickly houseplant in a plastic cup,

a grocery store orchid accompanied only by the rare stringy weeds

which struggled through cracks in your concrete earth.

If you are granted the saving kindness,

you will find somewhere to weave your lacy web,

and it will be clear that while this is not a world that belongs to you,

you’re not the only one.

Ren Koppel Torres (he/him) is a 17-year-old Jewish-Mexican-American artist living in Austin, Texas. Ren writes books, articles, and poetry, plays the electric guitar in a rock band, and edits the poetry/music collective INKSOUNDS. Ren also loves philosophy, gardening, and pick-up trucks. Website: Twitter: @KoppelTorres.

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