i hesitantly told my therapist

that i was doing better,

because i don’t know what

that means but i want her

to hear it. i’m waiting for that

“you’re fine, you don’t

need to come back”

sort of enlightenment.

her room is softly lit,

the tinny rush of a boxed

ocean just outside the

closed door—white noise.

protection. the world feels

a little clearer—

that’s enough, isn’t it?—

like a bombed-out post-war

london sprouting spring-

time flora, tiny green

tendrils winding through

ash and asbestos, dead

soldiers, vacant eyes, long

dirt-stained letters home

composed in perfect

tight-knit cursive.

i watch with gray-colored


i’m holding on to a still-life

fragment of self-worth perched

on the windowsill like a

slowly cooling apple pie waiting

to be stolen by a fat kid in overalls.

i’m the kid. i’m the pie and

i’m the kid and i’m eating the

pie in my underwear at 3am

while i silently budget my

finances on an old spreadsheet

i was proud to create. i should

win an award for this spread-

sheet. i performed basic

spreadsheet functions.

hooray for me. a boy outside

perpetually rides a bicycle

bedecked in scratchy training

wheels which grind atonally

against the concrete parking

lot. he does this

sometimes at 10, 11 pm. his

parents tiring him out.

and then at night i touch

my skin with my hands, my

rough, dry hands, i touch

my thigh and imagine it is

a soft caress from a woman

whose eyes smile when she

sees me, or a gentle affirmation

from a friend: you're going to be


the world corkscrews onward.

but what is okay?

an objective truth

about my personal

wellbeing? or the

subjective cadence

of the whisper of

autumn leaves

slowly drifting to

the forest floor,

agape with wisdom,

devoid of mouth—

amuse myself with hobbies.

i conjured up a studio

in my kitchen, for what?

what words haven't been

distilled from the greeks

or the ancient persians?

this is 11, this is midnight,

my heart races for no one,

the fan a failing lover

fawning somewhat cool air

over me like an apology.

we do all these things to

bide the time before our

bodies decompose, i

feel change coming like

a string tuned too tight,

ready to break with a

twang. bring me bread

and sweet honey. lilt

with that cozy breath a

few words, the right words.

let us play a five string

guitar together.