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by Paul Skiba, MS1

Breathe in.

Think of where you came from.

Think of your mother

washing floors for rich white women in Chicago

as her third job,

because she knew

that every floor she washed

would be one less that you would have to.

Think of how you got here.

Think of flipping through

tear soaked flashcards

on the way to class.

Telling everyone you loved,

through coffee stained lies,

that it was worth it.

Because you knew,

one day,

you would reach ecstasy

when you were standing where you are

right now.

Think of how selfish you were.

When you were a slave to achievement.

Ceaselessly clawing your way up

an avalanche of miserable success.

So that now you can sacrifice your

sanity and freedom

to a stranger.

Like a drunken fool,

your choices make sense

only to you.

Think of what drove you here.

Which paths were boarded up

that led you to spot this


endless trail

that you could never

focus your eyes away from.

Scraping through thorns and

drowning in rapids

trying to cross another river.

Did you ever escape,

or is tumbling through

coarse time-shaped sediment

what you have always been after?

Does the water flooding your lungs

give you life?

Think of how happy you once were.

When energy was transformed

just for you,

and entered your soul

through your ear drums.

Oscillating waves of bliss,

sharing with you

one word

that would reinforce your dreams

and begin to sculpt

within yourself

the David of your future.


Breathe out.

Read her chart, knock on the door, and walk in.

And don’t forget to fucking smile,

because you finally made it.