Taking Anxiety As A Lover

Long ago, I felt it rinse through my body
And sink in a shallow too deep to reach
By mere hands.

From early on it spread:
Quiet, low, festering, yet
Too bruised to conceal
Too flash and fire to put out, and
Every once and again
It consumes each straying thought, I–

I wanted to be naked like everyone else.

I wanted to brim and spill over,
A kettle engulfed in flame.

I wanted a song I could hold,
A dream I could touch,
Personified by love and love only, so
I carved my body into a question mark
And let you in.

You’ve made a garment of me.
A disheveled entity I no longer recognize,
Your animated sleeve.

Anxiety, you are the perfect lover.
The table I lay my worry on.
The one I curl into at night.

I line my shelves with your books as if
One day they’ll offer an answer,
But
They are light and leafless.

I watch high from your window as you
Paint your face on my mirrors,
Beat your name into my walls,
Speak for me,
Breathe for me, I–

I once considered washing you down into oblivion.

Made a net of my hands and convinced myself
I could fall forward,
Land without you.

Through years I’ve realized
I could do this very thing
Without condensing my life into a bottle.

No pills, no altering remedies,
No.

I do not wish to dull your senses.

Instead I wish, in silence,
That one day
I will garner the courage to
Stand up to you
When you are wrong.


c

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