Do you ever wish there were

stress-o-meters for every person so that

when the level jumped into the yellow edging

toward red it would start

beeping so that everyone would know to just

back off?


Do you ever wish there were

better things to say than the flat, stupid

words ‘I’m okay’ which call for extra, evasive

explanation when pressed which cause

your bald friend in front of you to say ‘I’m

worried about you’ and you just force

a laugh, a playful

punch to his shoulder and say, ‘How

are you feeling?’ because he has

leukemia and what right have you to

feel depressed?


Do you ever wish there were

better solutions when you wake up and

just feel nothing but know that nothing really means

something means this awful ocean of

everything deep pressed down inside you

and you just

sit and stare at the woods of your backyard and feel

empty and pointless and realize that

you can feel like you don’t exist even when

you’re breathing thinking walking and that

sometimes feels the worst of all?


Do you ever wish there were

reasons you could reach out to the person

you love rather than freeze when that song

plays in the coffee shop and you get up and walk

out into the cold or make some silly

excuse to go to the bathroom once twice because you just

can’t handle the sound wave memories

of him and his closeness and everything

you used to have?


Do you ever wish there were

days you could go to sleep again after

waking up because you went to church and then

crawled back and bed although

it’s not socially acceptable to go back to bed after

having emerged and trying

to explain to your mother that it’s like

there’s this ocean of sadness and pain inside

your chest and soul and you’re just trying

to keep the lid on but when you open it just

a crack for release the whole darn thing tries

to escape?


Do you ever wish there were

lists of all the ‘rules’ that make your life just

a tad easier like

don’t listen to acoustic music

don’t remember anything at all

don’t talk about work or school

don’t ever say you’re not okay

don’t step foot on campus

don’t get too close

which are all so obvious and easy to remember but

there are always others, hidden IEDs that

blow up in your face because you didn’t

even know they were a rule and now

you’re crying and wishing

you could go back a few seconds or minutes or hours to

avoid them?


Do you ever wish there were

things that made you feel like you

used to feel without the anticipatory

fear of that momentary light being

snatched away

things better than the

awful crushing sensation of driving

back onto campus for the first time in

six months even though you knew you

knew it was a rule but you needed to

break it anyway and

the fake smile waving your friend goodbye at

drop off and driving

away to the river after and striding in

determined even though its

February and feeling the

shock when the icy cold closes

over your head and emerging to

look at the silvery blue-gray world and remembering how

this used to inspire laughter and alive but

those days are gone and

the people are just echoes in your heart and at least

now it still makes you feel

awake like

your eyes work again?


Do you ever wish there were

roadmaps to guide you to the correct journey, the one

that tells you what to say what to do

what you should have said should have done

what you shouldn’t have said shouldn’t have done

what is needed and what is true

that leads you back to the person

you love?