It’s a feeling that settles over and underneath your skin like waves lapping on the shore. They spread inward and outward at the same time. And then a sigh, an attempted expulsion of the foreign body that holds you in a cardiac vice grip, a sigh escapes your lips that appear to be in adequate health on the surface, but have likely already turned the color of plums if your external shell reflected what you felt coursing through your neural pathways. It’s a deadening, a reluctance to feel because you’ve already experienced this cycle of death and rebirth before.
No, you’re not sick. You’re not mentally ill, though perhaps that might be a better alternative. People might understand then, or at least they might try. No, like this…no one sees anything wrong. But you feel it at your core.
be able to say
didn’t give you
You grab at your chest, trying to reach inside, to other dimensions invisible to the familiar spectrum. From the outside, there are no detectable anomalies, no diagnoses to be made. X-rays and CAT scans and MRIs are blind to these ailments that are felt, not seen, experienced, not observed. And for all these reasons, they discharge you and send you home. The report says they can’t find anything wrong, nothing genetic, nothing congenital, nothing.
But you know they’re wrong. You know something’s missing. You knew it all along, but you had hoped that perhaps it would be something else this time around.
line them up
unfeeling, unflinching, unforsaken
holding not just a piece
but a whole
the same hole
And when you arrive home and tuck yourself in, you whisper to yourself that you should’ve known all along. Everyone told you that you were predisposed to it, a chronic case of loving too deeply.