I’m Here, Tyrande
The opossum Midnight Willy lives in my garage
and my mother wants to feed him meatballs.
I think he would prefer a change of pace
like those Greek yogurt bars that aren’t
at all like real ice cream.
The cats don’t mind him and share their
heated houses and I think of the
hospitality that isn’t inherent
to animals but is often found there.
Sheep would give their wool to
lame antelopes if they could
because they don’t know that
wool is unnecessary to an antelope’s
survival. That’s admirable
and less self-serving than most men.
A man asked me two universities ago
if I would be his girlfriend because
he hadn’t had one before and that was
his selling point. I blocked him on
everything but he still managed to find
me in a video game.
The women in World of Warcraft moan
when stabbed. My guild master went
to prison but I didn’t tell my dad.
I wish I could go to Azeroth
and convince the night elf queen
she shouldn’t wait for her husband
to awaken from his emerald nightmare
because I don’t speak in riddles.
This is a bad example of that but
I’d promise her I wouldn’t hit her to hear her cry.
I take pills so I don’t see stars in daytime—
and maybe that’s a good thing—
because otherwise I’m afraid
I’d look for constellations while I drive.
I take pills so strangers can’t set me aflame
and their eyes can’t rest on my throat.
But there was company in my refusal to keep company,
and there was a frenzy in my veins
that made me glow.
I take pills so that I’ll balloon,
in form and shape and purpose,
so they can hear me coming.
I can no longer sleep in any pocket of myself.
I take pills so I’ll be still while they look me over,
and I do not stir when I am struck
by their loose walks
and innocuous mild gaze,
since they are not kept simmering at lukewarm.
Grace Downey is a senior English student at Indiana University South Bend. Her work has previously appeared in the Oakland Arts Review and Analecta. Her poetry is informed by her experiences with mental illness and the environment.