Trying Times


Today I stood in line on Lafayette Street

behind three middle-aged black women waiting

for the opportunity to interview for a job

for which we were all overqualified.


Today I was struck with crippling anxiety

and imagined my death three times

in as many hours.


Today I paused and felt my pulse pumping beneath my skin

and wondered

how my existence could ache

so subtly and so exquisitely.


Today I wore a necklace that could double as a weapon

and triple as a means of suicide.


Today I tried and tried and changed my mind and went back the way I came and tried again and failed.


Today I kept my hands busy and my mind blank except for the occasional memory of two men I had tried to forget. And when I thought of them I would shudder in shame and grab another carrot to peel or box to unpack, only to be faced with empty hands and an empty box and a mind full of you, both of you. You two who have left scars that I run my hands over every day, repeat the lessons they’ve taught me and then try, try again to keep moving.


Try again to be happy and loved and fulfilled.


Try again to accept the inevitability that I will make mistakes and never forget them and that it’s okay, it’s okay to have flaws no matter what your mother told you when you were a kid and bad at math.


What else did I do today?



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