Mental Health

Cage

"籠の鳥 (Kago no Tori: Bird in the Cage)" © halfrain, 2014. CC BY-SA 2.0.
籠の鳥 (Kago no Tori: Bird in the Cage)” © halfrain, 2014. CC BY-SA 2.0.
I take a shower. Change the sheets. Wipe down counters. Try to find my footing and start wondering if I’d even recognize stability.

Sweating. Vision blurry. My breath is shallow in my chest. My mind can’t get its claws in anything.

“Come on. Focus. You’re okay.”

A truck outside honks its horn and I scream, dropping my glass of water into the sink. Constantly jumping. Firing on all cylinders.

“Come on, kid. Breathe.”

Pacing back and forth in my apartment, digging my fingernails into the palms of my hands.

“You’re okay. You’ve been sick. Stuck inside. That’s all this is.”

Boil water. Make peppermint tea. Settle onto the couch and pull my legs up under me.

Sleeping twelve hours a day. Trying to get well physically and I can feel my mind tightening. A spindle already holding too much yarn and doesn’t know what to do with the excess.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll feel better. I’ll leave the house. Talk to someone. Stretch my legs. Get some sun. Stop understanding why caged animals gnaw off their own limbs.

Poetry

Safe

"sleeping cat" © pmin00o, 2001. CC BY-ND 2.0.
sleeping cat” © pmin00o, 2001. CC BY-ND 2.0.
Fever dreams without the sleep.
Some days are just made for
dragging knuckles across concrete.

Walk the city for hours only to
collapse in a heap on
the rug where we wipe our feet
when we come home at night.

Leave on my shoes, coat, and backpack.
Stare straight ahead into the dark,
lying on my belly.

For hours I gasp for air.

My husband gets home and helps me into bed.
I sleep only partially and
wake up regularly to reach out into the night.
Press my palm against his shoulder and
my feet into the curve of the back of his knees.

Breathe.