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Sweepstakes

Shadin Almaiman

I wanted to take the extended olive branch and break it into two pieces to sink into each one of
my palms.


Pin me down and we’ll call it good fun.
Knees on knees. An arm pushing down on a neck. Breaths coming out short.


Pull the wood out my hands, crawl down my body, and watch as the blood follows. Watch as I
never look away from the sky even once. Watch me pray.


Dig the stake into my heart and call me a martyr.


Dig it in yours and I’ll call it a sacrifice.


Maybe this is all it will ever be, this game we play. We always argued over the roles.
Who will die tonight?


In this version you’re the good guy. I’m making this easier for you.


In this version I didn’t die for you.


In this version I was a threat.


In this version your grip on the stake doesn’t loosen.


In this version you don’t watch me catch it after it falls out of your hand, like we’re dancing.


In this version I will not place it back onto your palm. I will not wrap your fingers around it,
tender.


I will not close your eyelids. I will not clasp onto your wrist and guide you towards the left of my
chest.


Fine. I’ll be the one to die here.


But tomorrow we’ll do it all over again. And I promise this time I’ll be the one to make you say
you want to stay.

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