Safety Razor

“How's it going?”

She asks me every week.

Small room, kids toys.

She works with a lot of kids.

The neverending sloshing sound

of tinny waves through small

speakers set at the door, to

drown out our conversation

from other tenants.

“Oh,” I sigh. “I'm alright,”

and then 50 minutes on why

I'm not alright.


in my bathroom, hands shaking.

    lifting hands up to watch them shake.

tremulous phalanges.

     heartbeat all over my body

& for a second i think,        this is it.

this is how i die. heart attack, naked

          in my bathroom. warm lights,

perpetual fan whir.    my cat meowing.

does she know?

i wander into my dark bedroom

& lie there and take deep breaths

& obsess over failures

      & worry about my blood pressure

      & think nobody cares

& &c                 &c                 &c.

all this over a safety razor.


i should tell her. about the anxiety.

about the hot shower, staring

at the wall, my eyes curled into

my thoughts like possession.

i should tell her about the safety razor.

But I don't. Because she likes to

hear me talk about art,

about poetry, about theatre.

And I like to unburden her.


so i'll tell you,

because you got this far.

i decided to shave my face

after many months

without, & i opened my

medicine cabinet,

& there was my safety razor.

the blade was dull & i

replaced it with a fresh one,

methodical, patient.

& as i did i thought:

this is the classic way

to kill yourself.

razor blades.

& i had a panic attack,

because before then,

all my plans were

prematurely thwarted

by inaccessibility.


On the train after work

I repeated to myself,

you should tell her

 you should tell her

    you  should   tell   her.

But I didn't.


“Art is the expression

of your soul for public

consumption. It's a

piece of you, a sliver that

you offer like a rose

to a young lover.

It necessarily exists as a

complicit exchange,

a spiritual barter

between human being.

And … maybe elephants.”

She laughed.


I laughed.



Later that week I shaved my face,

Clean, some blood on my neck—

I never said I was good at it.

I shaved with the safety razor.

My hands were calm.