You could have a big dipper   

The Strange Land of Numb by Laura Stamps


A man watches her at the DMV,

his eyes as piercing as arrows.

Long gray hair pulled back

in a ponytail, arms covered with

tats, faded jeans, cowboy boots,

t-shirt. Never smiling, just staring.

She turned to the woman sitting

next to her. “Do you know that

biker over there?” she asked,

glancing at the man. “No,”

the woman replied. “He’s staring

at you, not me.” And he was.

Intensely. His gaze as sharp

as the point of a dagger. “Strange,”

she said to the woman. “I don’t

know him either.” When they

called out his number, he walked

briskly to the counter. Finished,

he headed to the door, passing

by her chair, his focus intent.

On her. No one else. Never

smiling, just staring. Yes,

electricity swirled around him.

Yes, it was the forbidden energy

all bad boys fling. “Wow,” the

woman whispered when he left.

“Was that his version of flirting?”

Poor guy. Little did he know

she was dead inside. Her head

had gone numb. She’d been

that way for a while. No

passion. No joy for living.

No expectations for the future.

Nothing. Numb. Only numb.

They say the worst part of losing

yourself in the dark forest of

PTSD is the loneliness. So lonely

it hurts. All the time. Her.



Laura Stamps is a poet and novelist. Her poetry has appeared in magazines like The Penwood Review, Boston Poetry Magazine, American Writing, and The Pittsburgh Quarterly. She is the author of several chapbooks and books, including In the Garden (Moon Publishing) and The Year of the Cat (Artemesia Publishing).

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