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I used to think of you
as my destroyer
and I swore I would rebuild

and prayed so hard
to be delivered
from vindictiveness;
karma does not forget
and I should forgive
at least myself.

But the hunger for closure
is a bitch
and as I walk this new road
I’d find myself looking back,
craning my neck to see
if the truth has caught up on you
and made you pay for
everything you’ve done.
Deep inside
I want to scour your ruins
and take back the part of me
you’ve stolen,
never mind if it no longer fits,
never mind if it will
now render me uglier.

But see, that’s just
wishful thinking.
There wouldn’t be a tragic
downfall that finishes you,
no bankruptcy or incarceration,
no mutiny to overthrow you.
Real life rarely indulges
in poetic justice; it is more subtle.
Instead, you will never rise
out of mediocrity
and shall remain in obscurity.
You will try hard, but accomplish
nothing of value. Your name
will fade unremembered.

That kind of existence
is my worst nightmare, see.
I’d suffer anything
just to not be irrelevant.
And if I ever learned a thing
from that abhorrent memory
we now mutually mutely share,
it’s that you and I
are so much alike.
You are my alter ago.
You are what I almost became
if I hadn’t been
as vigilant as I’d been.
You represent the worst that
life could have brought out in me.
In an alternate universe I am you.

This version then, I know now,
will deprive me of the sweet,
definitive taste of revenge
in catching news that life
has crumbled you to dust
and spat on your dreams
the way you did to me and mine.
But you will pursue those dreams
in circles
and never see them come true.
Neither of us loses,
neither of us really wins.

“Secret II 3957” by photographer Toni Polkowski


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