Taking it in

When did breathing get so hard.

My lungs expand part way before they catch on something.

I know I’m getting enough air to live, but I don’t feel like it’s enough to live.

It feels like a heavy blanket dragging my chest down every time it tries to rise.

I am gasping for air even though I know it’s right there.

It’s everywhere but inside me.

I can see it on a flower, on a quivering leaf, in a ray of sunlight, in you, in her.

Everywhere but inside me.

The Disappearing Act

The sun is set and I am too aware of my heartbeat.

I close my eyes but I feel like I can still see everything.

Light from the streetlamp reaches through the window shades to nag me about my upcoming day.

I wrap a blanket around my left leg so that my bony knees won’t collide as I drift off.

I see vibrant orange through my lids and wonder how close it is to morning.

I had eight hours left when I set my alarm. Now I only have six.

Restless, I reach toward the bottom of the bed and pull the dreaming cat up to where my face is.

Maybe the rhythm of her slow breathing will lull me to sleep.

She doe not appreciate being relocated, and proceeds to let me know by sneaking out of my arms and clamping her teeth onto my hand.

She slinks off the bed and silently makes her way to the door.

It’s dark enough that I can’t see her at the door, but I know she’s there.

I know because I can hear her.

She digs her claws into the bottom of the door and drags them to make a noise that can’t be ignored.

She is trying to make me sorry I disturbed her, and it’s working.

I take in a breath and huff it out before throwing the covers off and following her to the other side of the room.

I feel around for her and pick her up before I open the door.

Why is it that the room is so bright when I close my eyes, but so dark when I’m trying to navigate my way around?

I carry her through the house until we have reached the front door.

With the cat still hoisted up on my shoulder, I use my hip to push the door in while I unlock it. The door has swollen and sunken this winter, and it is impossible to unlock without pushing it into place first.

The door is open and the cat darts out. I close it behind her, only bothering to twist one of the locks back into place.

I don’t really wonder what she is doing out there and I find my way back to my bed, more alert than before. If that’s possible.

I have a million things to think about, and I try to think about all of them at once.

It’s not very effective.

My mind settles on the topic of what I will wear tomorrow.

I have the dress picked out. It’s new and it has little daisies printed all over it.

I wonder if I will look mature, or look my age, or look sloppy…but at this point, I don’t really have a choice.

That’s what I’m wearing tomorrow.

I hope I have a pair of black tights that don’t have a massive run in them.

I have about twenty pairs of tights, a whole drawer full, but I bet none of them are plain black without a run.

And then my mind goes to the questions. I have read them about ten times, but I’m still not sure I can answer half of them.

I always start thinking about how I would answer one, then my thoughts turn into a daydream where I’ve already got the job.

Really productive.

I close my eyes again and this time I mean it. I pile some blankets on top of my legs to block the light from outside from reaching my eyes.

It’s actually really hot, so I go ahead and turn up the fan that’s on my nightstand.

The fan is soothing, But I’m worried I won’t hear my alarm over the whir of the blades. I turn it down.

It’s so hot.

I fling the blankets off and turn onto my side, shoving my arm under my thin pillow in hopes of supporting the weight of my tired face.

I lay like that for a good long while. It must be getting late. Or getting early.

I turn onto my other side and grab my phone off the table.

4:57. Awesome.

As I set my phone back down, my index finger brushes against a little bump on the table. The rest of my fingers come together to feel it and scoop it up.

A pill, thank God.

An old sleeping pill, I hope.

I throw the chalky little tablet to the back of my throat and swallow it.

Then I wait.

The Paper Sack

A paper bag of all my thoughts,

I keep it by my side.

I can’t let it be blown away

Or lose it, though I’ve tried.

I peek in at them from time to time,

the thoughts inside my sack.

Then shut them in and hold them tight

and try to keep them back.

Living Doll

The bruises on my body remind me where he’s been

Was this my fault; am I to blame? Or is it all on him?

 

I can’t say why I feel this way cause I don’t feel at all

I wept and wept, there’s nothing left,

I’m just a living doll

 

Am I still human? I don’t know…it’s not for me to say.

I’ve been picked up and knocked around and put up on display

 

The feelings deep inside me; or, you know, lack thereof

Just serve as a reminder of someone’s deep unlove

A Sadness Concealed

To start an old life

With the newness of fresh loss

Unable to perceive what once brought satisfaction and provoked curiosity

Observing the world with uninhabited eyes

Colorful moments blanketed in blue for they are not shared

Locking my heartbreak in a cracked container

Hoping that it won’t seep out at the most inopportune times

 

But it will, of course.

 

Indulging myself

With sad songs and solitude

Letting the sorrow escape in moments spent alone

Until it dulls and there is only enough left to burn and resurface on somber nights when I

look at my empty hands and think of how you used to fill my empty heart

For Those Who’ve Been Told They Can’t

A face blank as snow

Whispers the words of Satan,

Pressing me gently.

 

“I think that you can’t.”

She is confident in this,

But I’m not so sure.

 

Grasping at my thoughts,

Squeezing them out of my fists

Until they are lost.

 

Inhale oppression.

Exhale carbon monoxide.

Need to find fresh air.

 

Don’t tell me I can’t.

Because I know that I can.

I know I am strong.

 

I think you are too,

If no one has told you that.

 

No one told you that?

 

We want the same thing,

But you think you can’t have it.

I think that we can.

Consolation for a Survivor

An older woman said to me

with sincere and heartfelt voice:

They did not mean to do it

they did not have a choice.

Their fathers did not show them love

like every boy should see.

It’s just a deep connection that

they crave from you or me.

Their mommies didn’t teach them how

to act like gentlemen

so when they took ahold of you

how dare you go blame them!

A line of red drawn down your leg

Your stolen purity

If they knew better, don’t you think,

they would have let you be?

So don’t feel bad for your own self

or take the time to grieve.

Give back to those who hurt you

Your love is all they need.