The fluorescent lights in Rite-Aid
cheerfully pummel my senses. It’s 4pm
in the Quabbin milltown, in this January where the sky
holds tightly to its snow-stash.
I’m here buying laxatives, because it’s come to that:
everything is backed up. The government’s shut down,
my spinal cord’s frozen, peristalsis is a memory.
Even the clouds are stingy now.
I can’t bring myself to pick up my prescriptions;
too many faces; social interactions.
I buy senna tea and drive home.
Thank God some parts still function,
those happy things we won’t mention—
a memory of peach and coral,
gold scattering in all directions
as I sank into soft pillows
of words, far away,
of someone who loves me.
The sun set all over me
and reminded me that I’m still human.
I ration out paradise—
rainbow sherbet in tiny cups.
I’m cleaning up the sprinkles now
with the glass I dropped
that shattered on the floor.
I forget how clumsy I’m getting.
The vague unease of dusk settling—
something’s wrong; I can’t quite place it.
A feeling of something ending,
a rationed liquid draining
as I suck the last bubbles through the straw.
I feel the doors of my senses
swinging on their hinges,
letting in uninvited ghosts.
I drink my tea in bed
under fairy lights,
where I know every wrinkle
of the grey flannel sheets.
Everything is right and safe now
and the shapes around me
click in place like Legos
I’ve built and rebuilt,
taken apart in my mind
and created whole cities from;
decorated them with worries
and memories I entered whole
like gaping whale-mouth dreams,
swimming in their bellies
until I forgot the world and its glare.
I light a candle behind closed eyes
and dream of touch and color.
The high tide of night encroaches,
taking with it all the shapes that disturbed me.
The stars are out now
and in night’s safe harbor,
I listen to my waves again
and lay my anchor down.
© Psyche Marks 2019