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By Shea Van Rhoads

Circled, cyclical women 20 years too old
cleave to phantoms discovered long ago:
private gold smelted to the common cold,
diagnoses practiced, perfected to i<dent>ities—
precisely—i-triple-dot, double-crossed t ‘s.

Prima donnas trill shrill Dr. Phil-osophy.
Inner child upstages, out-rages inner child.
“Victimized!” “Age 12!” “8!” “5!” “3!”
“Since birth!” “In the womb!” “Chronically!”
My wound! Mine! Do(n’t) take it from me!”

Hatchets unburied, ground down to nubs.
Guru Big Bucks hmms, holds a mirror up,
“Different, yes, but not really different.”
Vision sharp enough to cleave a hair,
one swift gal sprints out of there.

Her acts axed; inner Scrooge expunged;
looser, lighter, wiser; unmisered by and from
mad Ghosts of Treatments-Yet-To-Come.
Pricey, priceless lesson of retreat: be aware—
when&where cleave means cling / split.

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