8. Panic

8. Panic


back into the dreadful pool

I’m thrown like

when I was five

I couldn’t breathe immediately

I screamed underwater but

nobody heard

it felt like hours before

my dad pulled me out

now everything feels like

that water


swirling, swirling


my head’s an ocean


out of my ears and my nose

it drips, it pours, it flows

it won’t stop swirling

I can’t see


try to find my footing, slipping

in the endless ocean

til it buries me in waves of uncertainty

it’s almost comforting to feel nothing


then my head bursts forth out of the water

and I can breathe again

and it hits me

that I don’t know where I’m going

or who or what I am


I’m running on the interstate

trucks honk, cars swerve

I keep my footing

hope my sneakers don’t get muddy

I bought them yesterday.


I’m falling into pages of my favorite book

falling, falling

head-first, hitting ground that’s strangely spongy

I think I must be Alice

but it’s not Wonderland I’m falling



It’s echos of your words

the ground is covered in them

the pages of my diary look suddenly so silly

fourth grade tears on rusty swings and

first-kiss dares and

sixth grade “but I thought he loved me”


but your words are so much more than merry-go-rounds and

ice cream trucks

prom dresses and blue makeup and

I know that I’ve grown up somehow

but growing up just feels like panic


an IV sucking the life out of me

scream for help, no one can hear

try to rip it out and it sinks deeper


there are teeth gnawing on my arm

there are snakes strangling my neck

there are fires right under my feet

there are words whispered in my ear


it all must be a dream

it all must be a dream

it all must be a dream


the pills say, it’s just a dream