Stumbling out of bed. Into the spotlight of delicate white beams seeping through windows, through blinds, through construction paper pale skin, through cracked violet eyelids. You stand before your audience in a sooty apartment mirror. Eye contact. Reciting your mission statements internally like clockwork becoming framework. This makes you feel alive. Feel human. Feel right. This adds warmth to your frosted fingers and rosy popsicle noses. Yet these mantras, these statements, these self-proclamations. When did words, strong as riptides and tigers and teeth, lose meaning? Ambition collecting attic dust. Dreams existing only in shadows, across pillows, in darkness with eyes locked shut. Awake. Pressing tense knuckles into honest eyes, moments of brief retrospect, begging the night’s private cinema to become tangible. Waiting for remedies, for omens, for searing green lights. Too afraid to take the first sip. Afraid of the Splenda sweet steaming gulp. Afraid of the hot white shock to the chest. Afraid of the burn. Will you ever take the first sip? Give permission to vulnerability? Place the heirloom ceramic edge directly next to open lips? If not now, when? No more placing the sugar aside to lose flame on the bed side table. No more lukewarm lattes.

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