Orange blossom antiseptic strikes my nostrils first.
My muscles contract in a clamor of tremors.
White light enters my cornea as invisible walls surround
twelve millimeters of thick safety glass and corrugated steel.
I remember rhythmic—the policeman managing morning traffic;
and trancelike—a light beam racing three hundred thousand miles per hour
as our city stood still while a viral frequency releases vibrations:
footsteps, cars, and decibels tapping to a secret stream.
In this device enclosure is an endless echo.
I circle the museums of my mind, languishing languidly,
while today’s food tray sits by a grey suitcase and rolls of drawings—
the last remnants of a beginning I almost buried.
A blinking screen reads that this is my final checkpoint till I see
the sunrise again and yet, the taste of misplaced hope sours my lips.
I succumb once more to the haunting of this prosaic capsule.
How I re-entered the loop; there must be system error in play,
for I fear for the machine piercing my skin and holding me still.
Helplessly, I count the days until this trial ends.
My blood is drawn and my forehead glints with grinning uncertainty.
At my final test in exchange for my bucket list, I reach for
open fields without a guard to shield with—where the world turns
as it used to. So, I take my chances and walk out the door.
Then, a lost bullet strikes, and I’m knocked unconscious by a false positive.
Chemical elements battle alongside my body as the engine never stops—
enveloped through my veins, my head spins as I realize that
I can never survive this excruciating test again.
I am detached from the pod sheltering me, little did I know how many
more it will take. A bitter pill to swallow—what awaits is a sentence for life.