Poetry

Asymptote

"57/365 - Fallen Layers" © Ahmed Hashim, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
57/365 – Fallen Layers” © Ahmed Hashim, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
“So. Many. Layers.”
I wrestle off my ski coat, fleece-lined sweatshirt, and down-filled vest.
The shape of my body finally makes an appearance.

Move the pillows, sit down, and pull my feet underneath me.

“We’re like Russian nesting dolls this time of year, aren’t we?”

It’s the same every time I’m here.
He lights a tea candle,
I settle myself and take a drink of water
out of my Klean Kanteen.
Pause. Deep breath.
“How’ve you been?”

“Good,” he says, smiles at me,
but does not return the question.
Just waits.

Therapy.

Sometimes I count on my hands how often I say,
“I don’t know,”
shake my head, and laugh.

He tilts his face forward
and raises his eyebrows.
“Is that really true?
Because I think you do.”

“Yes. No. I mean,
I don’t know, dude.”

Focus on the plants getting bigger
every week
or on the empty outlet.
Squint my eyes at the prism
hanging in the window.

I take off the lid of my water bottle,
put it back on again.
Nervous.
Fidget.

“You’re approaching something
that I think you’ve been up against before.”

I imagine the vertical asymptotes
on a tangent graph.
Hitting the same wall
in a new place
again and again.

His voice snaps me out
of my mathematical
imagination.

“It’s not quite cyclical.
It’s spiraling in.
I don’t know if you’ve ever made it
to the middle before,
but you’ve gotten close
and I think you can.”

My gaze jumps to the ceiling,
the place where the wall meets it,
follows the corner of the room,
finally comes back to center,
and meets his.

Throat stuck.
Eyes watery.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

“You know there is rarely an actual
‘supposed to’.
All you have to do is learn
how to take responsibility for the things you can
without
absorbing blame for the entire situation.”

Words like velvet.

Neosporin smoothed over
years of still-oozing wounds.

And here I was
never admitting
there is any difference.

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