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Cement heart shape with many cracks on a dirt background
Photo by opalsys on Depositphotos

While talking amongst people
A piece of me broke off,
Falling to the floor
Splintering into indiscernible pieces.
Quickly I swept them with a foot
Into the fringes of nearby carpet
Distracting friends with clever words
My practiced smile.
Later, when I was alone,
I acknowledged the void,
Vowing to deal with it,
Choosing for the moment
To apply duct tape.
“It’ll hold for a while.”
Time slipped away from me.
There was always a reason
Not to deal with the rift.
Besides, nobody really noticed
Except a few who really knew me.
“But what do they know?”
I told myself smugly.
“I got this.”
The thing about a crack is
The greater the stress applied
The more it expands, tackling sure borders,
Beliefs, convictions once unshakeable,
Colliding violently beneath the surface.
Massive pillars inside crumble.
The fallout is collateral.
And you lay there knowing
That all is irrevocably broken.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Michael B. Aaron is a poet incarcerated in Florida. He uses a pseudonym.