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Free Willy Nilly 

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Before anything goes wrong, there is a time when you desire catastrophe.
To be Blind Mary, helpless, on the dutiful arm of Laura Ingalls
who would rather be tromping off somewhere but like a good dog—
and not the pretty one—guides her instead, down the dusty wagon track.
You take a right at the male gaze and the proud bosoms of those
who feel your poor mother has done right by your sad story.

Before anything goes wrong, you stare directly at the sun—you’re aware
of the consequences. You play at convalescence until you can feel
your stricken audience’s stillness. You are given a white sock
to don on Crutches Day but you won’t need to prove anything.
Blink back the tears in your own sightless eyes. You might stop eating.
You might press a tender bruise ‘til you can’t anymore, might—

before anything goes wrong—choose your disaster. Is it this one?
Pros and cons. Wan-ness or jaundice. Bear attack or panic.
Wasting disease or a problem with your heart: you’re not beloved
enough. Pain will tip the scales. Let them watch and clutch
and cluck and whisper—now—before you are gone, how good, how
very, very good you were, an angel, really, taken before your time.
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