"After the Break"
by Crazy Retasu

"The greatest art is that which is fleeting,"
Say you, consoling yourself as your stomach growls,
Empty from the dinner you forgot to eat.
You stare at the stream of tears on the face
In the mirror with the cool eye of a movie director,
Wondering if those saline droplets are dramatic enough.
But then you pull the curtain and hide yourself
In the most private holy of holies, the sanctuary
Of the shower where the burning water
Lets you pretend that you can still feel.
And you won't go to church again this weekend
And you wonder why you still care if you do,
But that thought rattles the center of your being
And the beating water camouflages the shameful blush
Of your skin while the empty gnawing of your stomach
Fills your chest, your throat, your soul-
And you know that you were lonely all along,
And you wonder abstractedly at your present fear,
Just as you admire the forbidden beauty
Of the rubine blood dripping from your ankle
Where you knicked yourself shaving.
Three months ago you were confident, three
Months ago you knew all there was to your self,
Three months ago you said you were genuinely happy
With what you had become, but now all that
Self-assurance is gone; you can feel the heat
Oozing through those cracks in your shell and you wonder
What broke you first-and so the thoughts turn into poetry
And rush from your mind like the foam
Racing down into the drain, and you smile at the light
Filtered blue through the shower curtain because
You cannot see the mirror anymore.

Then you dry off and feel dirty and revolted
And your stomach churns, and you think,
"Anorexia might be a fine experiment someday"
As you button up the big, flannel shirt that
You wish belonged to the man you loved so that
Its smell and texture could comfort and reassure you,
But instead it makes you feel butch and ungainly.
Still the words cry out and you can't stop them,
So you rush to your room, trying to hold them all
In your head, like alphabet soup sloshing in a bowl,
Until your body aches for a writing implement,
And paper-any paper! It's past midnight, but
Your belongings lie scattered around the suitcase.
You have to pour out this feeling, this thought,
Your first poem in months, yet the most unstructured
And wild thing you've released in a long time,
And so you feel like a genius, and you feel
Like an idiot, and you feel a pain in your gut
While the sad faces on the covers of the movies
Watch you with pity, sympathy, disbelief, and scorn,
And then you know you've really slipped over
That last edge because you talk about yourself
In the second person, as if you were outside
Observing the You within, or as if the inner poet
Has taken control of the pen to describe you
In a manner objectively subjective.
You see the task ahead and wonder-
And still your face feels feverish.