The first few days after I turn thirty-five
I cannot will myself to start the year
Or even a day
I lay wrapped in too many blankets
Lights off and blinds closed
Heat blaring so I sweat through my clothes
And stick to my satin pillowcases
But I do not have the flu

I have altitude sickness from falling from
Such great and
Imaginary heights

I have the reckoning

I have the knowledge of my parent’s cancer
The waiting for my youngest brother’s arrest
His face exactly mine
More male
And the wondering of which of my own three kids will carry these three family curses

I have the realization that depression waves feathery fingers and wafts through closed windows

Pulls apart the blinds regardless

I have the heaviness of not having a partner who hands me a pen and a notebook and my keys and tells me to take a day and drive and write it out
And the heaviness of not wanting to hurt the partner I do have by asking for what I need
And I have a lot of words  in the ways that I need and that isn’t your fault and it isn’t his fault and it isn’t my fault but it is

So I swallow loneliness and misunderstanding like multivitamins on an empty stomach

I never used to think about death but now it's all I think about

At night I listen to the sounds my old house makes and every creak is my house saying fuck you and every creak is my house saying I'm strong enough to hold the rope that ends your life and every creak is the house laughing at me and I want to tear her limb from limb and sleep under the stars as if I ever sleep

The first few days after I turn thirty-five I am
On a vacation to the prettiest hell
Where my email inbox is full and my clients
Ring my phone and fill my voicemail
And do not care that I cannot raise my head
From sweat soaked pillow
Where self employment disallows a sick day
Where I'm only ever allowed to do it all
I raise my hand
To ask for help
And am assigned another task

My eyelids are glued shut with sadness
That rumbles through my stomach
Catches heavy in my throat
Dissolves my teeth in
My recurring dream
Where I'm wildly out of control of my
Oral hygeine
My love life
My to do list
My life
And every time I take a bite from
Eve's apple
My molars and canines and bicuspids and cuspids
My teeth crumble into my hand

Hands raised above my head in surrender
Hands tied behind scarred back
Is this the way we carry the weight
Is this the way I lose weight
At thirty-five
Coughing crumbs of my own bite
Into outstretched palms

Teeth are the strongest part of your body
Until they're gone

I fantasize about relapse
As if I once had a drinking problem
I imagine the condolences and grace given
The second time one falls
But what if you've been addicted to function
To the sound of sharpies scratching X's onto
Calendar squares
What if no one noticed you had a problem
Because they saw it as a strength

I fantasize about rehab
Wonder if I could learn to love the feeling
Of my finger in my throat

And slowly waste away
Until my teeth crumbled and you noticed
Checked me into a clinic that
Smells like lemon and
Feels like cotton and
Has reasonable expectations
That I occasionally nourish myself

But there are few ways to ingest comfort
Or courage
Or strength
When you're sweat stained and thrashing
Bed ridden and toothless
Unable to imagine that anyone would feed you
Unable to imagine that you'll ever be able to feel full