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May 27, 2014 | Poetry

Apprehension & Other Colors, Fit to Size

Sarah Jean Alexander

Apprehension & Other Colors, Fit to Size photo

If you are wondering how I am,
I am fine.
If you are wondering what I am doing,
I am missing you
in the aisles of the supermarket
where we decide which tea
is best and which salad
is best and
look it’s this one right here
because this salad
has rice in it
and we both will enjoy
eating that.
I go home and pour it
into a giant bowl and eat it
naked under my covers
while humming ten seconds
of every song
on The Vicious Kind soundtrack
as the heat of my electric blanket
builds and surrounds
me like the smoke
in the teepee
I had tattooed
on my bicep
before I knew
any real people.

Last week I tied my hair
into a ponytail and
didn’t recognize
the way my arms looked
flexing
and pulling black strands
away from my face
in an effort to sweat
more easily
and now hunched
and now missing you
eating a mochi ball
and now two, one in each cheek
near suffocation
but the cute kind
like when you are choking
on a mochi ball
and the doughy rice
forms a thick layer
of pale orange gel
over your throat opening
until you can laugh it all out
and breathe
and sweat
and keep on living, man,
like a normal person,
just keep on going,
it’s easy.

There are many
social conditions that
the human mind
has adapted to already
but it seems we still can’t
figure out how
to back away from one person
when we know
we don’t deserve them
and we still can’t help
making our mothers cry
if we know we will feel triumphant
for only 5 minutes.

I have developed the habit
of staring at the hands
of people standing next to me on the train
gripping the dirty metal pole
until they are uncomfortable and
I am nervous
thinking about
the walking and spitting and
shitting machine
that the human body tries to
disguise itself from.

My status of religion
comes with many footnotes
and complicated annotations
and mostly
excuses and weaknesses
and Jesus Christ
it freaks people out
when I tell them I still pray
before I fall asleep every night,
but have you ever thought
about how efficient
a person’s smile is
as a form of communication,
and that ghosts only exist
because we are all afraid
of being alone,
and how,
if we try,
we can sit very quietly
for long periods of time.

I don’t want to be your friend anymore
but it is very hard for me
to end things
when you are being
so fake-nice to me
and all I can do
is sort of real-smile back
because I am always 100% confused
by the intentions of others,
and so what if I use this
as a mechanism
to stay young forever.

And it’s fine
that I have to be me
for the rest of my life
and that you told me
I might as well get used to it,
I agree!
I have to get used to it!
Because everyday I wake up and I feel tired,
and one day I’ll wake up and be tired of feeling tired,
and one day I won’t wake up at all.
It’s a race that no one asked to run,
and it’s true
that some of us are much faster
than others.
You have a favorite person
that isn’t me,
and that is okay too
because I have a cat
that doesn’t know she’s a bitch
and I have a mother
who texts my roommates
if I don’t respond to her messages
within twenty minutes.
We’re all just trying
to relearn the stories
we asked forgiveness for,
to hold on tightly to the bodies
that have wound up in our personal orbits,
and to stop blaming people
for saying “Good morning”
when we step out of bed
everyday
on our own.

image: Jared Boger


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