Shrugger

 Shrugger
 
Hair in place. clean shaven face. Bag packed with the little I own.
One shirt; faded. One pair of trousers; frayed. One mind; a bit of both.
I can’t remember when it was said and yet today’s the day.
I brush my shoulder down.
 
Someone asks where I’m going today, I proudly tell them, out.
It’s been nice, I think. They smile, I think. Yet none of this feels right.
Wait. They tell me I have a visitor and this shadow lurches over me.
Crawling about my neck.

I smile. She smiles. She greets me so sweetly with big green eyes.
Nice to meet you. No? Not nice to meet you? I’ve made you sad somehow
already? There it is. The guilt clawing up around my throat.
I try to shrug it off.
 
I’m sorry I laugh. Am I not good with faces, or places? My mind races
I should know you, I know this but I’ve forgotten so much more
My mind searching empty walls for a door. The shrug comes again.
Only shoulders react.

It’s burrowed its tail into my spine, I smile, the nerves making a show.
You say it’s you, yet the problem is me. I know it is, I feel it
upon my back, the weight making me stammer. I’m sorry,
I shrug, I think I forget sometimes.
 
It’s okay says the voice. It’s okay says green eyes. I’m not okay.
I forgot that I’m not comfortable here. The ceiling is too low.
She says Catherine, my Catherine. No, she’s not, she’s older somehow.
Colder now, the feeling that clings to me in this frustrating hug.
I shrug, I’m sorry I’m confused.
 
I raise my chin to let the shrug in to get a better grip.
Another stutter. Another thought falling before it reaches fruition.
Like an apple that looks like a pear but tastes like an idea.
I can’t heave the worm from my core. I can hardly bear it.
 
I shrug. I’m sorry
I shrug. I don’t know.
I shrug. I can’t remember.
Please, just leave.
 
Its cold fingers of confusion, pry into my mind from its perch
upon my tired shoulders. I interlace my fingers with its own.
Holding my temples in place and together. I shrug and I exhale.
What was I doing?
 
Unpacking says the voice. Sounds like a plausible, fruitful idea.
How long am I staying? For a while? That’s nice.
I unpack my bag with the little I own. One shirt, one pair of trousers.
One mind, a little well worn.

L.S Black 2019