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June 13, 2017 | Poetry

Thinking Errors

J. Bailey Hutchinson

Thinking Errors photo

Anticipating Negative Outcomes

i. fortune telling

I wake and you are skin smell
under my nose, an honest oil
still. You hold, you
hold; night thins to saliferous
and cold dawn.

ii. catastrophizing

Because I love in the manner
of eating I am sure
whatever I take from you
will pass.

*

Emotional Reasoning

I wake because you wake me
flicking June from the room:
thumb-fat stinkbugs all along
the windowsill. Their eviction
sounds like two beaks touching.
Each hard little critter
seems a secret I told you—I worry
my big toes look wrong,
I hid deli-meats in the neighbor’s
mail while he was in Rome,
I think all of my bodily aches
and plane rides are lethal
though I fly & ache often.
I am in love with you.

*

Labeling

This is a grain cradle.
This is a bad jacket.
This is a hill that only descends.
This is a rib of mine that
sometimes moves.
This is a fish left on the bank
after rain.
This is my mother’s name.
This is a place I cannot stand.
This is not a good dog.
This is the only coffee I will drink.
This is a scarf I made.
This is cedar-smoked salt, which I brought
from home, which I only use sparingly;
I don’t want to run out.

*

Maladaptive Thoughts

Because winter is hot
this year, I sleep meanly. I want
to be finished with this poem.
Because our mothers risked
our births—yours
the weak lungs, mine the immediate fever—
I called you my sister. 

You became a clay,
your hands thrilled with orange,
your chanting
more magicked. “We are a noise
like an itch,” you told me; I grow I
cower I lose
the moonness
you helped me know. 

*

Imperatives

I should put the coffee on.
I should thicken the curry.
I should not resolve.
I should drink more water, thank my brother.
I should be grateful for yogurt and eat more yogurt.
I should not pick up my phone.
I should take a cold nap.
I should be gentler to my glasses, my body, my eyebrows, my books.
I should remember the deer I saw last night.
I should remember the blood on the deer I saw last night.
I should remember the dimming of the deer I saw last night.
I should get up and chop wood.
I should negotiate with spiders.
I should get a dog.
I should get a dog.
I should eat something green.
I should not eat french fries in bed.

 

image: Aaron Burch


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