What does one do in order to feel?
Not the safe kind, sanitized by Clorox wipe
left to garner in sun until just right temperature
palatable and convivial like a well heeled aunt.
No, I mean the bloody kind
coming at night, knocking your flippin socks off
just as you got used to living in a box, neat beige walls
knowing how you felt because you didn’t let it out
to crawl around and get dirty, muddy, sodden, feral
where feelings elongate into shadows and back again
tripping us up, as we shuffle to the bathroom for midnight piss.
Those feelings, the ones hammering your heart shut
as you open windows in the morning, anguish
and agonies unnamed, pour out into sore tongued dawn
you can’t even speak it, you can’t get the lump to dislodge
from your tightening throat, it’s like a scream has purchased
hooks and they’re pulling them out, fileting your senses.
The sheer ravage of it
makes you want to turn and run like a red gash
except … it’s everywhere, in your pores, your veins, the very
sentence structure of survival
how you make eye contact, which hand you use
to wipe yourself
feelings lie in the hems of your dress, the arch of your shoes
they crawl up your inner thighs and birth your secrets
with wild fingers and loose tongues
spilling afterbirth like unwanted punctuation.
For all your running in place, you’re growing tired
the careful structure of denial, unknitting itself
in a parody of lovemaking you come undone
till one day sitting at a coffee shop
someone asks you if you have the time
and it reminds you
suddenly, a cut the length of a sword
nobody asks the time anymore
and you begin to scream
people looking backward
at the woman who
unfolds her horror
like a thin Japanese fan
to keep herself