by Paul Tran
What did I think survival would look like? Triumphant. Glorious. Even Achilles was brought down. His heart broken. Yet his first loss, his first wound, was not being human. Not being ordinary. I was brought down. I carried the arrow. My wound closed its maw around the bit. I bit down. I tried to negotiate the pain. Move it out of my mind. But it remained in sight. The body maintains what the mind erases. Why couldn’t I have been ordinary? Ordinary with misfortunes. Ordinary with achievements. Ignored even by me. By ordinary people who claim they love me. Ordinary love. I could wake in an ordinary mind. Brush ordinary teeth. Go to an ordinary job. Say hello to other ordinary people on an ordinary street in an ordinary city in an ordinary country where ordinary things happen each ordinary day. Hello, ordinary people! Hello! Did the gods grant my wish? Violence. Brutality. Betrayal. Knowledge. Hurt. All of it ordinary. All of it mine. I’ve been trying to find the ordinary name to name the ordinary feeling I felt when I finally understood it.
"Closure" by Paul Tran. Used by permission of the poet.