Don’t call it a nervous breakdown

Don’t call it a nervous breakdown.

Call it an unsettling, an unwinding from a tightly coiled shape. 

A springing-open seed pod of the 

touch-me-not, jewelweed, goldfish-flower. 

Rename the flowers, it’s been done before.  

Coils of slick green, tiny grains of brown seeds 

on a trajectory toward the sky and freedom and back to earth.

Call it a no-longer-enduring what has been forced, 

coerced by the known and unknown forces 

inside us, around us, woven through us.

In collusion with our mother’s grief and our father’s rage.

In cahoots with our mother’s most private madness 

and our father’s unsurrendered tears.

Call it a reckoning, a shapeshifting, a transformation.

Return to the shining articulated mahogany pupal case.

Burrow back under the ground and wait.

Call it a rite of passage in a world without rites. 

In a world where the incinerator at the funerary home 

only gets lit at times when no families 

are scheduled to visit their dead. 

When our bodies ache and shake and burn and dissolve,

put down what we are carrying as gently as we can.

Sit down, fall asleep, tremble, wail. 

We are all that we have 

and sometimes it’s ghosts.

Call it the chewy translucent web left behind by the snake. 

Each scale, each eye, inside-out gaping mouth. 

She’s already through the grass and down the hole 

feeling the earth against her new skin. 

One thought on “Don’t call it a nervous breakdown

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