I take a step outside
And with my first breath in, I cough.
The kind that my lungs refuse to accept.
The kind that deep down I
Must refuse to accept because I still haven’t bought
All the necessary clothing I will need
To make it through the winter.
As if I am silently willing
Too tight tank tops and short shorts
To be enough protection if it gets any colder.
When it gets colder.
I drive alone on roads paved with ice
Listening to country songs.
One reminds me of a boy I knew,
Another of summer.
I change the station when one reminds me of you.
I listen to my tires count bumps in the road.
The six mile stretch between a paycheck and home is endless
When you are creeping along.
It leaves me far too much time with my thoughts.
I think of tragedies,
Of all the ways I could die
With just a slip of the hand
Or a jerk of the arm.
I think of poetry,
Of weekend plans,
My warm bed
And of course
Such thoughts are as familiar as the odd pulse in my thumb,
Only distracting when I take time to pay them attention.
Thinking of you is an involuntary impulse,
Missing you a chronic pain.
The process is such a part of me now
I wouldn’t know how to do without.
What silent audience would I write for,
Who would I fantasize about
In order to lull myself to sleep?
Why else would I need to continue on with this life
Besides a burning need to prove to you that