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My mouth is red from telling the truth. Swollen tongue: coral red. No one wants to hear this, why I shimmy instead of hiding at a desk, or clash plates at a bourgeois restaurant. My feet scream and my spine says scoliosis. I have wrinkles from smoke and men. Doing it for the words; that’s why my throat aches. One day I’ll wash the makeup off, but the red lights won’t fade as I leave. The sky will be red like stage lights, still, in the moonlit streets, and I will see the stars in the city, the rose sky, the pavement, soft beneath my feet like my comforter at night. And my t-shirt will turn gossamer, and my sneakers, like slippers, then snakes. And I will slither between your feet and tongue, still red, from reaping, following the words, and your feet. Out the door, down the street. Shadow figures, words in alleys, over my shoulder, in my gut. Rushing words like lost souls to the platform. No one knows the writer’s life is really like this; running from the truth in stilettos because it hurts. Holding unto the handshake like it’s a dollar bill, grinning and bearing no fruit.