The other day I was on the bus and I began to wonder what the world would be like if I was everyone and everyone else were me.
The bus stops. I stumble. I grab the rubber hand grip. The bus moves on.
I mean, I don’t want the whole world to be just like me, but what if our similarities are more than our differences? What if my worries, fears, concerns, self-doubt, self-contained excitement, hop-skip-and-a-jump glee is the exact same as that guy over there? What if my mind, literally my mind, my soul of souls, is in every single brain in the bus?
What if that guy over there is worrying about impressing his boss, just like I am? What if that girl in the priority seating broke her ankle because when I tripped the other day, she’s the version of me that fell?
Everything stops. Everything rotates. It spins and it spins and I hold onto the rubber hand grip again. What if I am everyone and everyone is me. What if we are all the same.
I want to reach out and say hello. I want to tell them it’s going to be okay. I want to look someone in the eyes. But they’re all looking down.
Just the same as me.
I woke up at 2am and googled acid reflux
because it felt, I guess, like my stomach
was eating itself alive looking for some comfort.
I googled anxiety.
But I guess I already knew.
Sometimes the walls close in like a trash compactor
but it just crunches up all my good thoughts
eats away at my better senses.
I clicked off my phone and a scream came from
the street, you know
the kind of a scream that never lends itself
Why aren’t we all in the streets, screaming, clawing
digging at ourselves
the church bell rings.
I wish I could have held your brain in my hands
while it developed
I could have stuck my fingers in
to stretch sulci
and bend gyri
and pull out all the pieces
that made you such a
piece of shit.
I. I think about
My dad without her
Her voice. Still here.
II. Children adrift in history
screaming in the hallways
while we stare into space
and wonder how they got there.
III. We make snowball cookies
white sugar floating to the kitchen floor.
IV: The phone rings and we know
it couldn’t be anyone we want to talk to.
once a month things go red and
well, it could be, uterine lining
or it could be cardiac arrest
tissues stretching, pulling
myelin blinking brightly in the brain
I want to adopt the saddest, fattest, laziest, most unwanted, patchy, squeaky meowed, elderly, potentially diabetic cat you have ever seen.
I would call it Maury.
Maury sits in the window all day on his cushion thinking about the lives he used to have. Alice who fed him kibble. Charice who liked to dance to Beyonce in the shower. And the kid with no name who gave him a sad pat in the alleyway where I’d find him two days later.
Maury feels lucky for his cushion. Sometimes he thinks about pulling a paw out from beneath his belly to swat at a moth that wanders past, but he changes his mind. The moth makes its uncoordinated trip back to the corner of the blinds.
At the end of the evening we come home and Maury glances upwards at the sound of the keys jingling in the door. He looks down before we can see how much he cares that we’re home. Maury knows that love is a risky game so he shows us affection sparingly to keep us interested.
After dinner is made Maury rolls onto his back and gives a little mew. I drop some salmon skin in his mouth and he gives an accepting nod.
sometimes I have nightmares
about the smell of your hair dye
the gently pressed corners of your
pies – you never – used your own crusts –
but you called yourself betty homemaker with
a slightly maniacal laugh and
when you laughed you cried a little bit
on the inside
and the tears gently collected in the pit of your empty
starved for attention
salty and sloshing back and forth
as you sway in your little