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  • Todd Wooten


Updated: Nov 6, 2023

I was allergic to pain when I was ten.

The nurse chuckled when I told her,

in all seriousness, before my hernia surgery began.

Gutted with fear til I gulped the gas.

Carbon monoxide days have passed.

As simple as breathing.

Safety, my reply when the gun shop cashier asked

the purpose of my purchase.

Hid under my bed. Dying to be used.

It became an expensive Christmas gift

after the pulled pork dinner.

Shredded like the skin I hid under

a tattoo of Zen Buddhist symbols.

Siddhartha said Life is Suffering, I concur.

Let me speak as the eighty-proof burns.

Failing to immolate memories.

Scripts handed out like post-it notes.

Tolerance grows with every sip, slice, pill.

Misdiagnosed by my adolescent self.

Skilled at pain. An addict now.

Prepped for death.

The scrub green gown covers the

stitches beneath my skin.

It is not a matter of if. It is a matter of when.

No one grows old. We shrink into oblivion.

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