Raw

i reach for my notebook, and flip to fresh pages.

my index finger lands on the pulp,

the insides of it’s skin are raw

fleshy and throbbing in staccato stereo sound

from rubbing the flat spot between my joints with my thumb.

 

like beckoning a tip from a rude customer,

i spend the late afternoon at my desk,

back and forth, back and forth sawing with an even-tempered metronome pace

until pale turns pink,

until smooth turns calloused,

until I was too tired to sleep.

 

general anxiety?

the name itself is oozing with the kind of unforgiving vagueness;

inducing sweaty palms, fidgety feet, a lurch in my chest.

 

there’s nothing general about the way I can’t breathe.

the way my mind swirls like a fiddlehead recoiling into itself.

the time I passed out on a plane.

the late July road trip that never left my house.

 

the specificity of these things etched into my memory like a personalized locket—marked:

forever, ever, ever, ever

ever-ything seems too hard and I’m too soft.

 

i rub and rub until the skin breaks in the small bend of my finger

and, smiling then, I reach for my pen.

it fits nicely in the new, widening gap.

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