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I Live on Despair

by Edd Vick

     I live on despair. It is my meat and depression my air.
     You look past me, a simple trunk sitting in the corner of the dayroom, dust-shrouded and ancient. A faded chintz throw covers my top, a battered secondhand lamp with a too-weak bulb weighing it down. Reading glasses might be left here one night, dentures the next.
     You don't open me, you don't think to. You're just here to visit relatives, to jolly them along. Wearing happiness like a shroud over misery, over impatience, over gloom, you breathe leaden air and play checkers or talk in low tones with those left to die.
     And if some of them die before they should? And if some of them take ill more often? And if some of them have unfortunate accidents? That draws you here to fill me with your raw emotion.
     So despair. Cry and wail and stare. Give me your darkness that I might thrive.
     Your children come with you, but do not understand. Some day they will--some day when you are here to stay.
     I love you all. Make me smile.

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