If your shadow ever
breaks open before you
and a shinier you pops out
like a fresh chick from a dark egg
what you should do
is eat the shell at once, swallow it whole
(because nutrients, y’know)
then shoo that newbie away into the forest
or desert or teeming city streets —
wherever you find yourself —
to fend for itself.
Swallow enough of your shadow
and you will change for the better,
we promise. Look
at how that new you is doing,
for instance. Whenever its shadow
hatches a shinier child
it sucks up those fragments
then mothers that new bird
all the way, every day.
You wouldn’t do any of that, of course.
You wouldn’t have a clue.
You would drink in front of the kid
and kick it and call it names
until it wilted or rotted clean through
and dulled itself right back to being
just like you —
which is why we’re telling you,
don’t do it. Don’t try.
It will hate you for it
but be infinitely better off on its own
even if it doesn’t survive,
and the rest of us will be, too, because
no one needs another just like you.