I make a windmill of my shoulder, harnessing all my energy
to lessen the pain later on. Question if I properly maintained
six-feet of distance while waiting in line because it’s been a year
since I’ve been around so many strangers and somehow I crave
to know their stories. If I laid my body down, would my frame
fill the space? Look up at the dizzying-bright gymnasium lights
as the digital clock ticks on and convince myself I will not
have a panic attack while threatening to grind even my jaw
to powder. Wrap straightjacket fingers around my wrist to keep
it from trembling. Check my pulse. Let my mind wander. Sit on the edge
of Lake Atitlán as the lullaby laps carve their path to the shore. Remember
what it means to break open or apart and be able to tell the difference
between the two. Befriend a crow and accept every shiny gift
it offers. Run my hands over a map and research the etymology
of the universe.
Wonder how Eurydice must have felt when the world turned back
on her because the myths only ever tells us how Orpheus suffered.
Make believe a masquerade is more than just a way to disguise
who we really are. Strip away the decaying bones that trap
our organs from playing their sweetest songs. Picture an alternate
reality where bridges don’t beckon the fall, but give rise
to connections this galaxy has only ever dreamed up.
Think about the apocalypse
and your lips. Ponder what it would mean
for the world not to end. Get up and get
ready to begin
Erica Abbott (she/her) is a Philadelphia-based poet and05 writer whose work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Selcouth Station, Anti-Heroin Chic, perhappened, Bandit Fiction, Brave Voices Magazine, and other journals. She is the author of Self-Portrait as a Sinking Ship (Toho, 2020), her debut poetry chapbook. She volunteers for Button Poetry and Mad Poets Society. Follow her on Instagram @poetry_erica and on Twitter @erica_abbott.