an emergency

a fruitless pursuit –
the attempt to trace a solid line
back to when approval
became an emergency,
when acceptance

meant survival

back to what caused me, at
thirty, to sit in the kitchen of
a man making breakfast, unable to
say poached, scrambled or fried
over the sound of the voice in my head

that said

are not worth two eggs
one coffee
this toast

his time

then his puzzled look
as i hopped on one foot
by his frostbitten door
rushing to put on one heel
then the other
apologies tumbling from my
mouth like breath
as the voice said
you’re a joke,

leave faster.

and i recall clearly
the slap of winter air
my bare legs and how silly
the voice said they looked,
the patches of ice on the stoop
and the voice as i took each step:
you will fall
you will fall

you will fall

i went home and said to the empty room
the voice is company enough
the voice is familiar

the voice is home

at thirty i turned to greet myself,
said hello for the first time, while
the voice,
with some urgency,
said no, don’t bother

then i tried for years to discover a map
to find the voice in those who raised me
in old friends
in forgotten lovers
but it sounded like them all

and none of them at once

until someone said
there is no map
there is no memory
there is no point

there is no end

and suddenly

i heard the quiet.


10 thoughts on “an emergency

    • I’ve heard that voice too
      I tried to drown it
      it only got louder
      when I woke up
      with another hang-over;
      who told me that
      I was not good enough
      I asked my grandma
      “We can only do our best”
      she said
      and that’s now good enough for me.

      Thanks Angela……a wonderful poem of self reconciliation.


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