A Journal of Undoing – One

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There is a water balloon inside my rib cage. It strains and pushes. It wills itself space in a confine where there is none to spare. It has reduced my lungs to limp socks. It doesn’t let me breathe.

Where now should this thought go? Do I put a leash on it and walk it like a dog so it obeys me and stays faithful? Do I put my hand in its jowls and let it sink its teeth into my meat? Do I dare say this water balloon is you? That you are water in the lungs. That since you left I do not breathe the same. That it is only a matter of time before you drown me within my own body.

Someone else leaving you is not the greatest betrayal. That is reserved for when you leave yourself.

I write as if the pen is the knife. Small incisions to let the water? blood? out so my chest is crisscrossed with an invisible pattern of thatched nicks and cuts. The warp and weft of surviving. My body feels betrayed. Why have I not attempted to end my misery? Why do I coerce myself into one day and then another when mind and flesh both are weak and unwilling?

The art of survival is new to me. Every time before I have left myself for dead. The vultures of my mind often perched on edge of the bed. Survival is not a lesser goal.

The blank sheet beckons me day and night. Write, it entreats me, PUT IT DOWN. But I am afraid of the abyss. The free fall into a canyon so deep you cannot see the bottom, only hear it. I know once I am at the precipice, I will not turn back. I am the precipice now. The words are on their way. I can hear the scratch of the nib across onion skin like hooves on asphalt. They will soon be here and then I will know if I am to be saved by them, or forsaken.

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