Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where Does It Come From?

Last night he spent awhile sleeping next to me
waking me with jerking limbs
and fear in his voice
more than once

What did you dream?
I asked in the morning

One hundred monsters
one hundred tornadoes
one hundred hurricanes...

A young woman with
too many kids
and not enough help
calls the crisis line
routinely at midnight
in a panic:

tightness in her chest,
dread without a source,
certain she's going to die

Where does anxiety come from?

and you search the darkness for an answer
to give her that might help
and say something like
it's depression's twin
which doesn't help
and only gives her another illness
to worry about

you want to tell her
anxiety comes from believing 
that you are just too small
to handle the enormity
of all that you are dealing with
combined with all that's still to come

instead you tell her to exhale fully
and take a big, slow breath

slowly out
slowly in

slow your breathing down
and your heart will slow down too

focus only on the next breath
just the next step

she says thank you and hangs up
and then in the darkness
you find sleep has slipped
out of the room
and you try to focus on
breathing the next one

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