Tuesday, July 5, 2016

poem of the day 07.05.16

the hypochondriac

i used to keep myself
up so many nights thinking about sickness
about dying in my sleep
about being the only twelve-year-old boy
who was going to have a heart attack
every growing pain that i suffered
was proof positive that my body
was failing me from the inside
i couldn’t sleep as a result of my worry
so i added insomniac to the list
all i could do was lay there in bed
listen to my brother snore across the room from me
my mother snoring in my folk’s room
the old man downstairs asleep
where we’d left him since he passed out at eight o’clock
with the television on as low
as we could secretly put it in our small home
and i’d think this is it, the end
i’d stop breathing the minute i drifted off to sleep
suffocated by i have no clue what
or that headache from yesterday was a brain tumor
the scratch from the cat would get infected 
and poison my blood
i’d stare at the clock knowing tomorrow at school
would be a long fucking day
if i didn’t get those thoughts out of my head
and get some sleep
but i couldn’t help it, it was all there in me
cancer, HIV, pneumonia, the plague
the black death, latent chicken pocks,
the mumps, the measles, that heart attack lying in wait
all of it coming to get me
sometimes all at once
while i laid in that bed terrified
until morning or sleep would finally come against my will
or i’d start thinking about something else
instead of all of that rot
something like the front door being unlocked
my old man’s cigarette still smoldering in his ashtray
set to burn the whole house down
or that my dear old snoring mother in the other room
had left the gas range going
and the goddamned oven on.


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