Epiphanies & Panic Attacks
You met me beside a bed one day, not a roadway
as you did for saul, or an ocean wrapped in stone
for sweet david, he bending down to drink & to
cry like me, my eyes covered in sores & drawn blinds so
through windows, no one could see me tossing my body
toward the ceiling & then crashing on a rug by my bed
where You found me, shaking—half the world leaking from my head.
the day You told us that worry was a thing that
not even the flowers could stand, did You understand that
i could never be as thin as one of them, their stems shifting
without brains screaming, weaving their petals into knots?
& when You told us that these things were for the lesser creatures,
did You know us already? seeing a girl curled over on a mat
in her room & knowing her, that she was one of them–these
lesser ones with worlds stuffed into the corners of their chests
& is that why You came toward her & took it—
that grim head in Your bleeding hands?
afraid i won’t hear your voice again,
i stuff your song into my ears—
the chapel in which i grew, the church & the steeple
my mother taught me, weaving my fingers
so close to prayer,
darkens as your face stained with glass—
distance quiets into shadow;
you forgot to tell us this would happen when
we colored your face in with crayon,
religion class at 9 am, an hour we knew not enough
to memorize the words lined beneath
your printed lips we never thought could be
so silent like a cloud fallen asleep:
you were on a ship with your lovers—within our bodies
that still pray for your violent waking,
for you to throw our crayons into the water, breaking
our silence & our sin.
Brooke Stanish is a poet and writer whose poetry, short stories, and essays have been accepted in America, The Windhover, The Rectangle, Whale Road Review, Living Waters Review, Time of Singing, Green Blotter, Manzano Mountain Review, BlueHouse Journal, The Ricochet Review, and other publications. Currently, she lives in Sunrise, Florida.
Artwork: Study of a Girl’s Head by Thomas Eakins, 1869. Public Domain.