Poetry- "Fight or Flight"

Artwork by Emily Curtis

Fight or Flight
by Jennifer Patino

I had to ask if I were
acting particularly
mentally ill when I felt
the sensation of falling
while I was completely still.

My breath wasn’t there,
My heart disappeared into
thin air

(Where is the air?)

My spirit was attempting escape
A shadowy ghost
An inky misshape

I don’t belong here

In this pixelated present moment
It blurs with the past
Forms a manic mosaic
Then I feel I’m psychotic
But I’ll never really understand
what that means

(“It’s probably in your genes…”)

One thing always changes eventually though
A speck of light will shine through the smoke
On that I’ll die to focus on

My life returns to me
Like magic. Hocus pocus.
Gone.

I’m back. I’m breathing.
The sun is out. Dawn.

A new moment arrives
Leaving traces of the
previous in its wake

I swim through all
its murky madness
Because this is my life
And my well-being
at stake.

“Don’t close your eyes yet,
Stay awake.”

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