original poem


But how I stared around me in wonder all day

After finding out that the lacy white curls that hover for seconds over an extinguished candle

Are not the product of the smoke itself

But the shape of the very air currents that are always around us


In Any Spare Second

Written on the back of a napkin with pen pulled from a purse,

Dents and punctures in the pressed plush of the paper,


Sketched on the back of the notepad by the cash register,

Pen drops from fingers as a customer comes,


Tapped as a rhythm on the taut leg of the jeans

Once the keys have found the pocket, as the feet cross the street,


Hummed at the stoplight,

Drawn on the back of the hand,

Drawn on the back of the newspaper,

Drawn in a margin,

Drawn on the notebook’s muted brown flipside,

Drawn in the seventh hour

Out of eight in the shift when the feet are sore and the task feels meaningless and every task feels meaningless and exhaustion is two warm dry foreign fingers lowering your eyelids against your will.


Outlined on the back of a receipt.

Scarred by a jagged scribble when the bus rolls over a bump.


Folded, and slipped into a pocket.



Unfolded, smooth, pen-lines like a blueprint.

Audible, visible—

The click of a pen. Its tip glints in the light.


I started drinking coffee because

I wasn’t depressed,

Every day was just incredibly exhausting

And every task just felt insurmountable


But with my heart caffeinated and pittering as fast as a hummingbird’s

I was a wind-up toy able to lift my arms and legs and

Smile weakly at the right times and say half the right things



As the last caffeine would leave my bloodstream at the end of the day,

I’d retreat to my mattress,

Turn on both hot, salty taps,

And cry.


Now I take a pill, 8 am, half white half green.

It facilitates serotonin’s chemical reactions in my brain.

When I started treatment, a couple people noticed

That I looked more rested, energized. Caffeinated.


But I still drink coffee, black, 3 cups daily.

Black coffee tastes like woodchips.

I CRAVE woodchips.

At least I’m addicted to something

That’s warm and comforting held in my cold hands

Something I can fidget with at work

An ingestible, smooth security blanket

That makes me look alive and awake.