“The world doesn’t owe you anything,”
that’s what I’ve been warned
again and again.
it’s just what people say—
a colloquial phrase
even so, I never wanted to believe it
but, despite my blind, teeth-gritting optimism
sometimes I am still afraid that
my sadness will swallow anyone who dares step in my path.
Sitting in my car outside the doctor’s office
with the AC cranked
on a sweltering June day, facing the mountains
mist hangs in the air like a damp curtain
are the walls in the waiting room
where the clock says “no time today,”
and an owlish receptionist purses her lips
and the woman on the lime green couch buries her head deeper into a 2017 edition of Cosmo
and nobody sees me
or everyone’s just trying not to look at me
and the despair feels unending and
and I’m not sure what to do
so I hide in my car and
some turbulent ocean turns in my stomach
bleeding out on my legs.
I hate this sense of desperation creeping in.
as much as I tell myself not to bend to such self-pitying depths and
as many times as I slap myself on the wrist
the message just won’t deliver.
The pit runs deep—
the desire to feel secure,
to be supported.
Haven’t you heard?
No one’s giving it for free these days.
I am 25—by all standards, no longer a dependent
so why do I feel so easily reduced to a helpless child?
I can’t afford it. To be in this state.
Still attempting to balance it all with grace:
the appointments, rent, multiple jobs, laundry, gigs, sustenance.
when it seems that even brushing my own hair is too much,
some faded memory wags it’s finger
and scolds bitterly:
The world doesn’t owe you anything.
At least that’s what I’ve been told.
But, even after all these lacerations
I have hope that there is
some over-arching care.
That I will be heard by
this benevolent motherly force out there,
just watching me cry in my car
and wanting to touch my back with its soft hand,
unperturbed by the visceral scene
or my guttural sobs.
I put my head down
on my knuckles, grasping the steering wheel and
mumble some words—
never taught how to pray
so I just say “please”
until there’s nothing left in me
but quiet resignation—
something resembling peace,
a baby rocked gently
towards the point of sleep.