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Tag: @sheer_awe

There Were Others

I have to be honest with you: there were others.

& some of them were good. Before you gilded my hippocampus

I lay in bed with fireworks: antipsychotics, their distant cousins,

Risperdal, Abilify, all the dizziest bees.

When the SSRIs asked me to dance, I danced, heavier than I’ve ever been,

a weeping clockwork, but at least in motion.

Some even pinched a smile from me. I know you want to know:

Were they better Did I love them Would I ever go back Who was she.

But if you could see what they gave me: years.

From the bottom of the lake they scraped my literacy for breathing.

Or: my mother & I, side by side on a king-size bed, reading

while they ambled & flit through my thick helplessness.

I read books. I cooked meals. Forgive me.

from Odes to LithiumFind more by Shira Erlichman at the library

Copyright © 2019 Shira Erlichman
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

I’m Sitting with Björk in my Bathtub

& she leans, takes my knee in her mouth, like a puppy.

this is her song. I am a pale mountain from her native

landscape. she moans & it is my name. it is not sexy, it is

sexual. my blue wrist suckled in her other mouth is an

enchilada. I think about how my car won’t sell on

Craigslist. I think about how ill-prepared I am to do my

taxes. she can tell my mind is elsewhere. she doesn’t

mind. she sucks a peach. I take her photograph & it is a

Selfie. there are so many ways to need yourself. a faint

nipple through the bubbles. she has no reason to hide

from me. we are sisters in the army of almost. it is the

way we flirt. we are never bored. Björk uses a can-

opener to open the bathwater. it’s working.

she slides my mental hospital evaluation papers into the

water, so they dissipate into tiny paper fish. this is her

song. I am a mossy stone remembering its past life as a

bird. she names every doctor who never met my eye. it is

not political, it is a curse. my chest is an ivy wall

replenished by her hacking hands. I think about how I

threw up the bad medicine. I think about being told to

just swallow it. she can tell I am reliving the neon isolation

of mind-jail. she doesn’t flinch. just sucks a jawbreaker. I

see her tongue change color & exhale a fuck of rivers.

there are so many ways to crown yourself. a perfect

nipple glaciers thru. she has no reason to judge me. we

are sisters in the queendom of Self. it is the way we work.

we are sweetened sweat. Björk puts a straw to my

forehead & drinks the suds. it’s lovely. her eyes are truth

wagons chugging along ancient dirt.

from Odes to LithiumFind more by Shira Erlichman at the library

Copyright © 2019 Shira Erlichman
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

How the Jellyfish Prospered

It’s August in New York

& my lover’s alarm

siphons me into the kitchen

as the room fills with clouds.

I don’t mind poetry, not even here,

telling you I forgot the glass bottle in the freezer

of all places, shards I’ll have to pickaxe

with a butter knife.

How did I—when?

There is no question like the body.

I collect its fragments. My little butter knife /

chip / chip / chips. Angel folds her arms

around me while I sift through blue freezer light.

Somewhere far beyond

jellyfish bob on a wave while I gather shrapnel.

My teeth chatter.

Tears polyp at the sudden thought,

Thanks to this double-edged salt,

by the time I’m fifty, will I remember

anything at all?

The butter knife speaks: yield.

Yield.

Who needs memories when you have

arms around your waist?

I wed each wave

as it hits me.

from Odes to LithiumFind more by Shira Erlichman at the library

Copyright © 2019 Shira Erlichman
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Rose

a friend says

but

you

don’t

seem

like

you

have

Bipolar

mouth kind, whole as a bell, mouth

I care for, whose shoelaces I’d tie &

cup I’d fill

do you know what it’s like

to want to believe a non-believer?

suddenly I am

undiagnosed

another girl

a cloud

made rabbit

by a child

surely

you know how this ends

a rose

by any other name

is still a flock

of blades

from Odes to LithiumFind more by Shira Erlichman at the library

Copyright © 2019 Shira Erlichman
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.