How Are You?

Ask her one more time
and she’ll have to tell the truth
She’s just about to break into
dust-sized pieces of herself
When all around, the earth
readies for the fall–
feasts of happiness and joy–
and in her heart the pain of a wretched soul
weighs so heavily down that
escaping is the best she can hope for–
better than stopping eternally
or quitting the race before the end,
Because another angry word
or simple shout may break her
into nonexistence–if there’s such a place–
And who would think there is anything worth
that price
Except the noble-hearted soldier
or the miserable hag
Who would rather die than confess a lie.

A good thing someone is born every day
to make up for those who leave too soon.

“Oh, it’s really not that bad,” she’ll say
when of course, it’s worse. But courtesy
speaks with tempered tongues
so the dying smile will not reveal
the broken heart or worse–
the befuddled soul.
Please, don’t be surprised
or even ask again.

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