The pungent scent of sulfur
fires out from the gangrenous fumes
of societal decay we don’t smell anymore
and leaves behind another gaping wound.
It bleeds out of our memory quickly
before we stitch in unsettling thoughts.
That the stranger at the checkout counter
might live in his mind, diseased with anger
that ferments into indifference
and manifests into a piece of metal,
he unloads to silence lifetimes of laughter.
These waves of resounding grief echo
across communities like ultrasounds,
making diagnostic images of damaged
hearts nobody knows how to fix.
Cries dissolve into a layer of white noise
where tears are the constant drip drip drip
from the leaky faucet we learn to ignore.
Renee Cronley is a writer and nurse from Manitoba. She studied Psychology and English at Brandon University, and Nursing at Assiniboine Community College. Her work has appeared in Chestnut Review, PRISM international, Love Letters to Poe, and several other anthologies and literary magazines.