I Will Only Answer If You Rephrase the Question

Slippery with only sharp edges,
I was a patchwork of bruised knees,
purple polish on nails slammed in front doors,
and clumped makeup stolen from the dollar bin.

The rule was to hold your breath on the bus
when you pass by the graveyard on Main,
as to not inhale in the dead souls that swirl in the air like
Nesquik in milk.

It’s been fifteen years and I haven’t caught my breath,
hide me from those real words,
those we thought were reserved for book reports,
like death like relocate like love,
hide me from those checkmarks next to boxes,
and phone calls starting with, “I’m not sure how to tell you this,”

Don’t ask me to dive,
I can only tread,
making ripples to be diluted by waves,
until it is all just still again.