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By Michael Shea
Illustration by David Petersen


In                out

In      out

My body is raw and inflamed
but I push past my assumed potential

Flames swallow my abdominal muscles
while the rest of this body begins to char

Sweat streams down my face
and sneaks its way into the side of my mouth

A smile appears on my face, red
and open wide for more

I taste the familiar saltiness
and swallow my own sodium

My heart is pounding with proteins
while my arteries are flooding with steaming plasma

— feel a sort of high
as I increase my efforts —

— give it my all
and finish —

I let out a long exhale as the rhythm of my breath is extinguished


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