The Intricacies of Having a Prison for a Mind

She only reads books that start with the letters

K, I, or C.

She doesn’t know why

But she thinks it’s because they spell kick

And she often wants to kick herself in the face.

(She drowns herself in a lake)

She doesn’t because she is not flexible enough

And because it would be a sign of her impending insanity.

She does not need any more proof that she is losing her mind

Or already has.


The neighbors two doors down

Are trying to get a grand piano into their upstairs bedroom

By using the pulley system.

She refuses to walk under it because,

(It is a lake of music, loud enough to silence her mind)

Given her luck,

It would fall on her.


On rainy days she steps outside in five minute intervals

Or three minute intervals

Depending on the downpour.

It is the perfect amount of time to get damp

But not soaked

(Fill her lungs with something other than panic)

She is afraid of staying dry because then she is not living her life to the fullest

But she is also afraid of drowning.


She steps on every crack in the sidewalk

(Let them melt together like her skin soaked through)

Because her grandmothers are already dead

And their backs cannot be broken

But maybe the cracks are signs of hidden chasms

So she has to check the stability

For everyone else on the sidewalk


She does not look in the mirror when she is naked

Because it feels indecent

Even though it is her body to see

(Though her skin doesn’t look like hers anymore)

She has grown up feeling like she does not belong

And someone should have the controls to her mind

Because she is clearly doing a bad job at life.


There are long disclaimers and terms of use

On everything in the world

She has read them all, word for word

Even if they start with B

Because dishonesty kills like a cigarette

(Set aflame, making steam where once were seas)

And cancer builds where walls are degraded by smoke

She is not good enough to need no rules

And not bad enough to need a chain.


In some psychology book full of Freudian slips and child development

7-9 hours are described as the right amount of sleep.

She plans her days around these hours.

Any more and her mind is sick

(Till she is lost somewhere in the clouds she created)

Any less and her body is.

She has no time for less than perfect these days

When demand is a grater of capability.

And she is in shreds.


In every pool she enters, she dives to the bottom and

Runs her fingers along the ground

(Where she feels nothing else)

What if there are sharks?


If there is a speck of dust in her hair

It must come out.

She breathes and breathes and tries to forget

(Though she is surrounded by aching weight)

The dust in her lungs that she cannot claw away

So she clips her nails because blood means death

And sometimes there is a little blood in her hair.


If she loved someone

She is not sure that love would look like it should

(Too deep, too heavy)

She is all in all the time because otherwise

Her life is slipping through her fingers

And no one deserves to be let go of.


There are monsters in her closet that look like men in hoods

She sticks a chair against the handle every night.

Sleeps to the sounds of wind and her beating heart

Trying to remember what finger she should not feel her pulse with

Her mind says she isn’t breathing

But the air is crisp and burns her throat.

(She knows where there is air there is pain)

Can you feel when you are dead?


If her brother touches her

She shies away

Not from him, with his crazy hair and big eyes

But from the land on his fingers and the world on his cheeks

(It is easier to survive below the waves)

She has never been good at separating danger from adventure

And adventure from earth.


Her skin is marred with scars

(Wrinkled though she may be)

She has picked herself clean like she is the vulture

And her body the carrion.

There are imperfections and it is easier to pull them apart

On her own

Than allow someone else to.


When trying to explain what she finds

Behind the cobwebs she dusts from her mind

She falls short and loses words. There is silence

And then there is terror

For she fears being misunderstood.

(And yet, in the sunlight there is freedom--)

Her mind shines a floodlight

Trapping her behind bars made of swallowed words and pills

Back into the dark where she keeps all the tremors

Her hands refuse to show.

And there, in that dark

Is her beating heart.


She hides her heart in the crevices of her mind

Because if not, insanity would find it.

When your world is drowning and every step feels like torture

When fear consumes your mind and leads your hands away from the doorknob

When the bed is a grave and all you want to do is die—

Then you must hide your heart deep inside because

No matter how hard breathing becomes

You still want to.

She still wants to.

(And she cannot help but reach out to the light and breathe and let her heart go free)


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