He lays on the table, unable to move.

Awake and aware and scared,

eyes rove around the room

frantically looking for something to find but

there’s nothing.

They open him, painlessly and wordlessly

extricating, cataloging the contents of his soul.

Each item is lovingly labeled, exposed in the harsh light

before being laid down next to him while

he watches, captive and captivated.

Silent screaming as they remove the wretched wraith

black as soot and twice as sordid,

it writhes horribly around seeking freedom but

they chain it; tamed for now.

Stunned staring as they excavate the light;

bright white and effervescently evocative,

evanescence of doubt, fear, worry, pain.

Empty now, he is floating directionless;

unburdened and unbuoyed; he can move.

Numb now, unmotivated, nothing to prove.

He watches listlessly as

they carelessly cram the contents of his soul

into a thin casing,

like a goddamn hot dog.

Within the casing,

the wraith wraps itself around the light,

smothering it, feeding on undeserved ecstasy.

The empty boy looks on, unable to care.

They pin him down with painful restraints,

peel him open, push in the package.

He can feel it there, deadened but present.

No longer unbuoyed and unburdened,

but numbed.

Is nothing better than pain?