“Riddles” by Caitlyn Siehl

If the battle is over but everyone is
dead, how do you know it’s over?
Who decides?
What came first, humans or despair?
Did it crawl inside of us or did
we crawl inside of it?
It’s warm where the flesh,
which is yours, meets
the mistake, which is an open mouth
on the bed in your dorm room,
tongue like a serpent,
like something lost and frantic.
If you keep going, will it settle down?
These are the hard questions.
What do you call a punchline
when there isn’t a joke for it?
Why did the chicken cross the road
and why didn’t you?
How many licks does it take
to get to the center of the loneliness?
Yes, the tree still makes a sound,
and yes, you will still want to
disappear even if no one is around to
snap you out of it.
Listen to all the cars screeching
to a halt outside of your window.
Listen to the engines rumbling softly.
Listen to how they are all saying
“Get through this. Get through this.”
When does being brave not look like being brave?
When is the princess not a princess?
When is the hero not a hero?
Who cares. Save yourself.
Fuck the story.

– Caitlyn SiehlRiddles

Caitlyn Siehl is the author of What We Buried.