Low — a poem

The noise of it fizzing in your head

Always too loud

Too much

To be drowned out by anything

And your neck is cold now and there is sweat there on your skin

And outside it is very dark

And in the room nothing moves except for you

And nothing makes a sound

Not outwardly

You drown in silence

Your body a sort of horror, really, something awful, a cosmic joke

And it feels good

Nails against flesh

Because then at least it seems real, external, physical, even though you know that consciousness is material, is neurons and synapses and electricity, all of it made up of atoms, which themselves are made of smaller things, and so on.

 

It is so hard to breathe sometimes, to do so effectively

And at a pace one might call regular.

Even in your head it is difficult to name this

Words have power after all,

And there are only so many synonyms

And euphemisms

For pain

And few of them are more palatable than the concept of death.

 

You are not the sort of person who feels this way

And so you don’t

It isn’t real

You’re exaggerating, surely.

You arm bleeds, where you scratched it.

The tile is cold but that doesn’t really matter

Nor does it’s hardness

Nor does the fact that you have been here

Lying still, unmoving,

For approximately half an hour

Nor does it matter that the only thing that rouses you is the fear that you will be discovered

Like this

On the Ground

And you will have to explain why.

 

It hurts

So much

So often

But you still laugh sometimes, so it can’t be that bad.

You can’t be that far gone.

You can’t really be in trouble.

 

Time doesn’t happen anymore, not like it used to

Not like when you were a child

And things seemed simpler

And maybe worthwhile

Before you realized how much better it would be if you weren’t such a burden

Such a useless, worthless thing.

 

But you still laugh sometimes

Or smile at least

And you try not to let it show

That you are slipping

Because that might be unpleasant for them

It might bring down the mood

And in any case, it’s just a bad day

This is just how life is

You’re just not strong enough to bare the weight of what others carry without thought.

 

It’s easier to cry in the rain

Or in the shower

Late at night

When no one is listening.

You can cry as long as the tears hold

As loud as you want

Until you have a headache.

But the water is warm

And the light is kind of soft and glowy

Sort of lovely

And your legs are such wretched things

And your arms

And all the other bits, hairy and sodden and ugly

And you can’t understand why you feel this way, why it hurts so much

Why it all seems so wrong

Until you do

Slowly at first

Cautiously

Because you’d never imagined that this could be you

And you are frightened

But one day you see her, on that show, and she is happy

And she is loved

And she has sex and enjoys it, and you finally understand

That you can be like her

That you can be okay.

 

You stop cutting your hair

You go to a thrift store and buy girl jeans, cut them into shorts

Take your t shirts and alter the necklines, shorten the sleeves

And you shave your legs and it feels good

The stretchy denim against your skin.

It’s hard though. You still cry.

Still feel wrong.

Still think sometimes it would be better to leave.

But you keep going, and you know they love you, even when your mind tries to tell you they don’t.

You know they care

That they want you around, even if you don’t always want to be here

Want to feel it.

But a day will come sooner than you think

When you look in the mirror and

See her

See yourself for the first time in so many years

And you will cry for the miracle of that.

 

Hold her tight, this girl, this frightened creature

Remember what it feels like to love her

You did it once

Back when it was easy

Before you learned that nothing is promised

That life is pain

That you have to fight for the breath in your lungs.

Hold her tight and remind her that it is worth it, this mess

This fluke

This beautiful catastrophe.

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