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March 7, 2018 | Poetry

glossary of coping mechanisms

Jessica Morey-Collins

glossary of coping mechanisms photo

Glass of Water—

Selves rasp against each other. Mother's little bucket of wisdom tipped over; teacher's sweet girl has curdled. Mere glimpse of the calm hand of an honest femme could heal—cool palms that carry blue light, blue light to make angles sing more soft, obtuse. Ask moonlight to sooth a word-weary throat.

Stress Nap—

When it rattles, the world, rain shakes off when it shakes, when it so it rattles and its joints separate, its teeth clack as if en route to a vanishing, as if muscle's girp on bones it is coming loose. When it rattles at the eyes

At the Party—

Stand central while filial love bangs flat palms on a plastic casing, the dull roar of a whole room of friendship dims the sun. Ideation reverberates you inside out; capillaries gasp at their exposure. People here know you.

Phone an Old Friend—

Charlotte says we live in the age of experience so don't devote a good life to ideas. A good ear hurries the word blood through the receiver—a good ear keeps its ringing blood covered in ideas. What a good mind needs, Charlotte says, is long walks.

Long Walk—

Calves clench and release. Laughter of strangers. Thump of bass, neighbors bend and bounce by the jungle gym, spread blankets by the bayou, sip wine with curled lips while the sun glances them. Drakes follow ducks along the water's edge, men and women, wine sips, walks, and you with all your watching.

Box of Wine—

Porch light pours from an honest mouth. Teeth go squeaky while red reaches between them. 

Forced Sleep—

As if shoved under a celestial muck, the mind whirrs well past a proper allotment of sleep hours. Heroic layering, xanax, wine, melatonin, wine, xanax, weed—thunderous quiet, blood flooded eardrums create their own amniotic silence.

Homemade Soup—

Minced superfoods—tumeric, garlic, ginger—low and slow, until soup smell seeps into the house's plaster. Dried mushrooms, fire lapping at a pot's bottom. Starches, carbs—noodles as fluid as thought. Add vegetables last minute, simmer until tender, sip until soothed. 

Watched Breath—

Each inhale a dipped ladle, each exhale the emptying. Every overwhelming thing rings out before it dims into silence. 

image: Thomas Gresham