It shouldn’t ever be a surprise but it always is-
the slow, unnoticed grind then a sudden click-
the fire turns blue and the soul has gone awry,
begins a new beginning, spiraling towards a bleached-out end
but hovers, hovers, lets you ask your questions,
lets you toy with its strange mechanisms until then.
But you’ve grown wary of speaking with ghosts,
any fun soured long ago, turned into fear of
unpredictable fits of twisted emotion,
approximate likeness of a familiar face
gripped in uncharacteristic throes.
It shouldn’t ever be a surprise- red eyes you swore
you’d never again meet, never raise your eyes willingly
to stare into a stranger, never be lulled by a plagiarized voice
who sounds the same but speaks offbeat.
But it is a surprise, the moment it happens, every time
you said nothing and leaned over the edge
to play a game in the underworld. And you’re
shocked at first to realize
then you are the frightener, trapped in a haze
the same way you swore
you knew better