three poems: by a thread / hello doctor, my old friend /love notes to self, despairing - VII by Lauren Bender
by a thread
I go where I exist, to the dim sunken corner, your leg
wedged between my two legs,
single curtain to shut out the unwanted, lyrics white
on black above the bed, and I don't think
about the creepy man from the sandwich shop who likes
how pudgy I am, and I don't think
about the lamppost that flew through your window
during the hurricane, and I only think
off and on about our sicknesses, and I don't think
about the sad words on the walls or
that night the ambulance came or how I am always
crawling into your lap in inappropriate
places. It is four thirty in the afternoon, and I am late
for living up to my last name. I have left
the house to work out its own feelings, all terrible
ones like anger and jealousy and disgust,
and could it be that a nap with you will solve
this monumental problem, thinks
the busted adolescent brain. But I am so tired,
and you are so, so tired
that when my sister asks what's fun about going over
to a friend's house just to sleep,
I default to my classic response to questions from
healthy people and stare at her
in silence, hate pooling in my eyes. The world asks
too much to demand I explain sadness too.
hello doctor, my old friend
I follow your legs up the stairs
and talk to them about my feelings;
this is always what I'm doing.
They are flawless and hairless,
and I can't stop staring.
They seem to fall out of your black skirt
announcing you – here I am, your savior,
at least the one you hired this week.
They keep interrupting my stories
with questions about why I love them.
And I tell them, I don’t know;
why does anyone love anything?
Maybe when they catch the light, they look like me,
my legs, if I was living another life,
your life, where I could be happy, no doubt,
and not fall asleep tucked in question marks.
Even though you are a presentation,
never mind seeing beneath the surface. Not now.
Playing dress-up is only the beginning
of growing up, of the transformation.
Can I imagine such a world,
where eyes find themselves at my hemline
and envy fogs away the self?
love notes to self, despairing - VII
can you keep your eyes open
you set your phone's alarm for half an hour later curl on the couch hold it in your hands pressed against your chest like a stuffed animal that sings and purrs out of nowhere and makes your ❤ pound so hard
(and you can't remember if having a ❤ was like this before if this is just what a normal ❤ feels like)
sweet❤ she has to cancel
you say no problem fine whatever I'll therapist myself? surely I've clocked enough hours to get the job done
check your phone and it (you) says calm down your life is not ruined calm down calm down calm down life is always a mess and loud and you can be such a good little self-soother when you bother to try
you slam your fist against anything not working keep hitting hard and the more you hit things the more you want to hit things things that would shatter things that would say stop you're ridiculous
and well I'm a little worried about your ❤ with this have you been trying to--
you're not listening to a word I say are you
lives in Burlington, VT. Her work has appeared in IDK Magazine, The Collapsar, Gyroscope Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Yes Poetry, and others. You can find her on twitter @benderpoet.