X, as in X-rated. That’s how it starts.
X, as in stupefied, tongues hanging from our mouths.
X, as in two rivers, meeting head-on and fighting over who needs to yield.
X, as in the spot where we allowed the accident to happen.
X, as in a pair of intersecting lines, warning you are no longer welcome.
X, as in our eyes are shut, since we bonked ourselves over the head with our own hammers.
X, as in the photos that show where our bones were broken.
X, as in the squall of distress that guts my belly to the studs.
X, as in former, but sure as hell not now.
X, as in examination of why you still reside in my head, though you have no right to be here.
X, as in stitches over the wound.
X, as in the additional time it takes for scar tissue to form.
X, as in closed permanently. Watch for new location.

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Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Bisbee, Arizona. She is the author of nine prose and poetry books, published by numerous small presses. Her latest chapbook, Land of Eternal Thirst (Dumpster Fire Press), was released in 2021. Leah’s work appears in Rattle, Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and elsewhere. Visit her website at www.leahmueller.org.