Emma Patrice 

by Katia Diaz

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naive and unaware of the pocket of ignorance she emitted 

october 3rd 2000 something jolted her world

stressed

a noun she believed propelled her into progressing

justified complaining 

a right to be exhausted

until a glance down charity street changed it all 

she saw a man crawling through shadows

feet dragging

lopsided tie hanging from his sunken neck

the wrinkled suite held no pride

his briefcase didn’t seem heavy but she could tell it was almost 

touching the broken cement

pity arose 

he felt her sorry 

his eyes hit the ground faster than hers could turn away

she approached closer and heard him mutter over and over and over 

“options, decisions, opinions”

“options, decisions, opinions”

“options, decisions, opinions”

through the crashing noise of the honking taxis, running children, and railing construction she could only hear 

“options, decisions, opinions”

 it echoed through her head throughout the rest of the day  

her adolescence blurred away

two hours later she caught sight of a woman 

diamonds glittered from her ears 

she dripped with gold 

head full of wine and silk woven between her icy fingers 

they called her beauty but that's not what she answered to 

there was a stiffness to her

a hollow bearing 

as stiff as her jet black hair  

crimson lips  tainted with remorse 

chin raised high as she stomped past her shattered heart 

that's when emma patrice noticed the women’s eyes whispered "regret"

“options, decisions, opinions, regret” 

“options, decisions, opinions, regret”

the four nouns haunted Emma Patrice

they uncovered her past memories—a forced forget: 

her childhood 

her broken heart 

her enemies 

a glimmer of her old self in the man on charity street and the woman gorging with regret 

but she had no right to complain unless she was still the man on charity street or the woman with regret