The pyramids of institution shade me from an irradiant sun while the State of Assurance bears down upon me. I navigate a sidewalk without cracks in a safe space sans weapons of mass destruction. Here the coordinated shuffle was enacted to keep all steps in line and subdue deviation.
Today in defiance of order and efficiency, I stoop to retrieve a shard of silvered glass glinting at me with a hostility I'm not accustomed to. Such vengefulness is not tolerated. It was culled by the same filters that cut carbon emissions. But my curiosity in this fragment of misfortune suddenly outweighs my need for security.
The edges have not been dulled. It retains the power to carve through flesh and formality. To sever and maim with a permanence that would require the individual to adapt. Such efforts on the psyche are outlawed.
In my hand it mirrors an image I am unprepared to greet. I expected crescent moons etched at the corners of my mouth and worry lines sunk around my eyes—the marks of years of expression and opinion, aggravation and triumph. Instead, I lift a finger and trace a smooth veneer of subordination in place of a face.
Where are the wounds of my mistakes? The scars of battles fought and lost, fought and won. Did I never follow chance? Above me the political titans breathe their policy of protection along the back of my neck. They safeguard my emotions at the expense of me experiencing anything and silence words deemed inappropriate for our precast fates.
I crush my reflection in an uncalloused palm and feel the give of newborn skin against the glass, the flow of my blood out of constricted veins popping and perceiving pain for the first time. Before and behind me commuters cruise in time and oblivion. I step out of line and the shadows into irradiating rays certain to cut my life short with their cancers.
People begin to notice my disruption of traffic. They notice the gutter now washed red. They notice the anguish overtaking my countenance. They're going to notice when I awaken my voice and scream.