Tight panic rode his chest,
weighed upon his breath.
Each blinking moment,
wore more fraught with twisted guts.
There was no threat, but that
was not what his chest seemed to expect.
He hung too loose, he felt too tight.
He yearned to cover his eyes.
He wished for night,
to come at noon,
darken his door ere soon.
Pressure, pressure, pressed,
locked tight in ticking chest.
But even explosion would be an exposure,
best not to fret. Drown in regret.
Even when nothing’s been wagered or lost.
Difficult in quiet to remember the cost.
Remember to count. Remember to wink.
Dead-eyed smile to arise and thus to die.
“What happened to those iron bands wrapped ‘round my bones?
“What happened to the fiery brands settled in my throat?
“Where went my strength? How came me weak?
“Can I no longer stand alone?”