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).