Bad Habit

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 00:24 -- elianah

The last few months

I wished someone would ask me about my year

just so I could tell them, finally tell them:

Things went under, downhill, belly-up, bad,

things went wrong (I went wrong)--

but I didn't and I don't, because if there's one thing I've learned well this year,

it's how to draw so far into myself

(to press my tongue to the roof of my mouth, squeeze my arms around my own ribcage

bite soft lines of scar-tissue into the insides of my cheeks)

that I can't ever breathe out a single word of this, can't ever look the poor bemused asker in the eye

and give them anything other than:

Not so great! Kind of stressful, you know how it goes.

And how would I tell this imaginary asker, in any case,

how I've taken up every bad habit I've ever tried to drop--

that I blink and drag metaphorical feet and linger awake until one, two, three every night

every movement loose aching and terrible

Or that I tear and peel at my fingernails, half-crusted over scabs on my shoulders

to the point of compulsion, how do I say

that I take a grim sort of pleasue in the grey blooming under and around my eyes

(dark circles, under-eye bags are supposed to be violet and blue and indigo, delicate and femininely gothic in poems

while mine have always looked more like a yellowing bruise than a bed of pansys

more like a corpse tham broken-hearted heroine)

and that if there is no joy in my isolation, my dull silent self-destruction

there is at least a little solace?

Put it this way: I am miserable enough to feel it

only not enough that I can blame it

on something else, some missing chemical or delicately avoided trauma

Put it this way: 

I could grind my teeth down to gaping grinning stubs with all the coiled hard sadness of my year

Put it this way:

when I am asked, I bite my tongue, curl my toes into eachother

smile my very best corpseish smile

and take the wide and easy road downwards:

Oh! It was alright! Maybe not the best, but, you know how these things go.

Put it this way:

Have I in this past year ever taken anything but that easy road?


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