“We are not idealized wild things.
We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication; so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”—Joan Didion
You’re sad because you’re sad.
It’s psychic. It’s the age. It’s chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll
you need to sleep.
Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessings. Better than that,
buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.
Your sadness, your shadow,
whatever it was that was done to you
the day of the lawn party
when you came inside flushed with the sun,
your mouth sulky with sugar,
in your new dress with the ribbon
and the ice-cream smear,
and said to yourself in the bathroom,
I am not the favorite child.
My darling, when it comes
right down to it
and the light fails and the fog rolls in
and you’re trapped in your overturned body
under a blanket or burning car,
and the red flame is seeping out of you
and igniting the tarmac beside your head
or else the floor, or else the pillow,
none of us is;
or else we all are.
You wake these mornings alone and nothing
can be forgiven; you drink the last
swallow of warm beer from the can
beside the bed, tell the stranger sleeping
on the floor to go home. It’s too easy
to be no one with nothing to do, only
slightly worried about the light bill
more concerned with how dark day gets.
You walk alone on moist pavement wondering
what color rain is in the country.
Does the world out there revolve around rooms
without doors or windows? Centering the mirror
you found in the trash, walls seem closer
and you can never find the right way
out, so you open the fridge again
for a beer, find only rancid milk and drink it
whole. This all tastes too familar.