what IT is

“you know I am right
I will win,” IT speaks softly in my head
like a secret from a child…or love whispers

“I am your personal acid bath
peeling away layer after layer of skin
making your bones white as snow as I bubble happily

“I am piranhas biting your flesh
schooling you in your failures
as you dissolve, skeleton resting on the soft Amazon river bottom.

“I am the black crows, waiting for a car to pass
swooping down to your flattened carcass of a life
pulling pieces of you to devour slowly

“I am the tornado
picking up your lifeless body
broken, arms and legs jutting at weird angles, tossing you into a corn field

“I am the quiet skittering black widow
patiently navigating your tennis shoe strings
just a little love bite, dear, it won’t last long.

“I am darkness in an underground cave
wedging your body tighter into a crevice
no water, no light, not hope of rescue

“I am your truth and destruction
your failure cheerleader
I will win, loser.”

IT slithers away while I watch
knowing another visit, another psychological beating
will happen again…and soon

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reconsidered

awash in thoughts that stick like honey to my skin
oozing into my eyes and mouth,
the taste bitter and certain

treading in the open lake,
no salt to buoy me,
arms waiving back and forth farewell in the dark night water

i look at the moon, full and hopeful with tired eyes
aching body, panting breath
pounding, saturated mind

below is an endless deep chasm lake
carved in ancient times and filled to the brim
glacier run-off ready to swallow dead lake creatures, lures and anchors

waiting for me to cramp and sink to its ink depths of oblivion.

“why swim? you’ll never make it to shore,” IT says
“your arms are lead, you’ve been treading too long
“even floating is an effort. it’s over, just stop and come with me.”

i turn on my side to try moving away,
feeling its silken fins brush my legs and arms with fatigue.
scissor kicking, I cut at IT,  to glide back, tracing my path to shore

each stroke accompanied by images of
mutual laughter around a dinner table
holding hands, arms swinging while walking in the woods
laying in a field, looking up at the sky, warm breeze on my cheeks and nose

IT whispers about tears
about betrayal and indifference
about arguments, unreached goals and failures

thankful the water in my ears muffles

the snide, jeering remarks and finger pointing.
My hand finally touches bottom and I stand up.

walking slowly through the molasses depths
from hip to thigh to calf to ankle
the rest of the way to the shore

reconsidered

 

unwanted

the blowing dirt sticking to hot, sweaty skin
and brown and black burrs clinging to socks

a finger and nail sliced while peeling an onion
and a tiny gray mouse scurrying among pantry boxes

a hangnail catching on paper and pockets, now bleeding
and tangled, knotted hair, a ball of defiance, which must be cut out

the shock of a stinging jellyfish on an idyllic white sand beach
a bee sting, leaving innards on a lance, piercing skin

the rancid taste of sour milk in Lucky Charms
and a red-hot, swollen spider bite

the squish of dog shit between toes in the summer grass
and a belly-up fish floating in a tank of algae haze

Small bits of food cemented to otherwise clean silverware
and frozen skin patches under a ski mask

Heavy layers of ice, amputating already weeping tree limbs
and a gorging mosquito slapped to a blood mark

sunburn blisters on tight fiery skin
and rotting chicken bone garbage perfume

This is who I am

unwanted