anxiety

I have not liked anything I have written lately.  x__x


let me tell you about anxiety —

because it’s more than the
quick hitch
whip around
sharp gasp
racing heart —

it’s multiplied, magnified —

it’s
oh-why-why-why-did-i
say-that-thing
in-that-way
to-that-person
at-that-time

and

sorry, what did you say?
sorry, what did you say?
sorry, what did you say?
while Their words crash encrypted
against the firewall of your panic

it’s
oh-why-why-why-didn’t-i
speak-sooner
shut-up
talk-louder
quiet-down

it’s surreptitiously trying to convert mannerisms into mathematics —

how much oxygen is in the room
and how much of it can i sneak stuttering into my lungs
and will They notice if i’m taking too much 

how much space am i taking up
and if i stand here or here or here
or shrink into myself
or suck in my gut
will i take up less 

how many minutes have They spent on me
and how many more am i allotted
and are They giving them out of charity
or did i earn the right to keep them

it’s a prison
where your ribs are the bars
and your heart is a tripping, seizing convict
slamming against the walls
screaming and slavering
grappling with demons unseen
while your lungs, those unfortunate cellmates
squeeze themselves small
bruised and battered
by your heavyweight heart

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