Making Light Of Madness
by Lisa Haynes

    I lay beside you
    because it's expected
    because you've stayed up with me
    through the frigid hours of night
    until not going to bed
    becomes suspicious
    something we must talk to death
    until I'm sick of our voices
    and the dizzy hum of my body
    and I think
    just maybe, I can sleep

    In bed, at last
    your body quickly finds the fading rhythm
    the intersection between here and there
    You stop talking, your hand
    stills on my thigh, your arm
    around my waist becomes an anchor
    as you catch the bus to your dreams
    pulling away from the curb without a backward look
    while I grit my teeth
    and listen to you breathe music:

    I am angry I am not angry
    I am angry I am not angry

    I must warn you:
    in this current state of mind
    I am blind to all but red
    and your deep baritone blues are dissonant

    Hundreds of red ants
    scurry through my mind leaving raised welts
    on unguarded thoughts
    hundreds more
    travel down the blood wires
    into my feet, my hands,
    my crimson belly

    Knowing that my perception is off
    that only a poem
    will allow me to make light of this madness
    I ask forgiveness of my
    tortured skin and muscles and
    promise to light a candle
    to St. Rita of Cascia,
    the patroness of impossible poets,
    in exchange for an hour of sleep and
    your understanding.

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