When I realize that my bike accident broke your heart for 6 months

Every man I see is wearing pleated pants
from the ‘80s with the pleat going down the middle of each leg, ridiculously baggy in the crotch, no ass imaginable
Every straight couple I see is in the middle of a fight, the boy lackadaisically kissing the girl as she shouts and pushes him away
Every squirrel is a snapping turtle with a mouth big enough to take my entire foot off,
maybe the right one if I’m lucky, that’s barely worked for five months anyway
Every thud is the sound of slamming breaks
and my body sliding off the hood to the concrete
Every siren is the hospital bed alarm
Every knock on my head is a hoof to the face
I’m standing next to a person who is violently angry but doesn’t know it,
and a stallion is galloping towards us, assuming the anger is at him,
and he’s not in the mood for this kind of predator
Brain injury brings the kind of lonely that is the common impetus for babies’ crying
For months I didn’t know what I needed, but you were easiest to imagine
You breast-fed me before I had the feeling of hunger
You cheered for my first steps before I knew what walking was
I didn’t know your heart was like my drum set sinking into a lake
I didn’t know you’d long stopped thinking about drying and playing it
When we need it the most, hope is not something we can feel
It is simply the ability to suppress terror
Now that I can go for a jog, blaming our terror on the man who hit me doesn’t repress it
We build drum sets after drum sets that twang like country westerns
Men in pleated pants clap, snapping turtles eat cymbals
We’re cursed by dreams of scuba gear
If you couldn’t see the lake, I know it’d be easier
I’m just so damn cute, despite my brain injured fashion sense
If we were broken up like my broken brain,
making new neural connections could only be lonely for so long
We’d dig hope out of simple distractions and become smaller, easier individuals

Instead we thrash

That nine percent of me that’s missing is a jellyfish
We don’t know where it’ll sting from but it always stings

(May 21, 2013)


Published by kris gebhard

Kris (pronouns they/them) is a clinical psychologist, poet, percussionist, and gardener currently residing in Chicago, IL.

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