Some human cells adapt to toxic stress by physically becoming other cells. Smoke enough, and tall columns become flat lung lines. Turn 16, and girl lining becomes home-in-waiting. The word for this is metaplasia. It is supposed to be temporary.
If the acid reflux lasts long enough,
our throats turn home to miracles.
Mucosa gazes into the hissing ocean,
forgets it ever wanted anything else.
Burns off its pink,
grows taller cells,
meets the bile as
intestine. It knows
rust is a better color for pain.
Pathology TA holds up dead esophagus
and I write a letter. Sorry the shapeshifting
did not save you.
There are children who want to
die. Children waiting in empty
lots and melting sandcastles,
enduring as monster-flowers
–monsters, to hurt what hurts
–flowers, to want to live. It is so
hard to remember if we are
persons or flowers or monsters.
I squint; the air shimmers with all
we will become.
When the dark tide recedes,
you are left with a sun that is eating the galaxy
and generations of children with stomachs for throats.