ANXIETY WINS

like a Russian nesting doll, I try to hide my selves. 
hollow myself out to cave
then release echo to chase her worries. 
never found (story of my life)
but I feel her crying within me.

& you know narcissus, no. 
what if it was him seeing himself
how echo saw him.
imagine seeing yourself loved like that.

I am the lake always.

smaller, how I wish it were as simple
as Alice’s shrinking potion.

some days I wonder
how all of me can fit in this body & still stay together.

how have I not spilled over?

so here’s to big things that are sea within me, 
to violets & lilies
worries I dig from places I’ve forgotten
& root in my tongue so I can practice steam.

(how I am always trying to make something insignificant)

here’s to forest call & trying to order
(which means to hide). 
to my highs, my lows, how I pack & repack
so often I feel intruder.

real me is a field mouse caught in august rain.
my body all lavender & tissue
boxed for the attic—

what is my real use?

how I crush & re-crush the feeling.
think it over & over but say nothing.

how morning me is not home me.
how driving me is not night me.
how work me is not dream me.

how I say things (after they have been said & done)
in ways they could have been. 
and then that whole follow on of taking out & unfolding
& re-pressing & stammering—

I’ve lived a nonagon of decade, 
a quarterpence of a century,
before you there was that era of thimble
& then after, I ate nothing but stars.

oh all the places where we could be—

how I can never get over anything.


S.A. KHANUM is a writer from the UK.