• Kaitlyn E. Joyner


The apologies in my head don’t pay rent.

They are no longer guests in this residency, but landlords

Deficit in faith and in virtue, embezzlers of well intended regret.

The hum of my conscience is demoted to a makeshift chamber in my heart

Where feverish visions are left sleepless for lack of a bed.

No one ever told me I could be rendered homeless

By my own compulsory remorse.

The apology inn takes many prisoners, but no customers,

Home to trivial atonement and rehearsed syllables.

“Sorry” has become a second language to me,

Inelegant devices of language

Used in an attempt to make reparations

For self inflicted rumors of inadvertent tendencies.

Penitence has become the currency of my lips.

I auction off apologies, but no one is bidding on them

And my words have begun to feel like paying with pennies,

I know for sure the cashier isn’t buying it.

I am programmed to apologize, however, the algorithm is flawed,

Because I treat sorrys like precautionary measures,

But at least I’m ahead on something, right?

These soft spoken apologies ripen quickly

Yet the recipients of these apologies fail to harvest them

So they return to me, bittersweet and bruised in all the wrong places,

Reduced to the unsalvageable pulp of an unnecessary offering.

I am running myself bankrupt without rhyme or reason

But cannot seem to convert from my disparaging currency

To a more convenient coinage.

While others struggle to stutter their apologies,

Mine fall from me as if I shed them.

One apology at a time, I molt from this skin

Laden with scars, heavy with the detriment others have introduced

To this world that I hold upon my back.

The rebirth I seek robs apologies of their stolen limelight

And restores my stream of consciousness to the throne

From which she reigns.

I will melt all ancient currency, transform these

Hesitant syllables of regret into letters and reconstruct them into

Cathedrals of momentum, sanctuaries of inertia

Where apologies are obscure etches, hieroglyphics from a different era.

I will carve this hell into an oasis where repentance falls to its knees.

If my apologies change the locks and bolt the doors to my brain,

A fist fight with the drywall may give way to a new entrance,

But the fire of my words have the power to reduce their prison

To cinder which I may use light the darkest chasms of my brain and

Simulate the conditions required for this mental metamorphosis.

And for the first time in my life, I can say

That I am not sorry.

Art by Christine Park

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