Poem // Illusion

©2016 Melissa McLaughlin
December 14, 2016

I sit on a brown couch,
legs crossed under me,
elevated above the ground—

Minute movements,
small gestures really,
disrupt my carefully crafted illusion
of stillness, of calm.
—Brushing hair from my eyes—
—Shoulders heaving in a barely audible sigh—
—Fingers tapping knees and thighs—
I can’t stop.

An energy is building inside—
a stomach-knotting,
throat-tearing from screaming
that makes me want to
—need to?—
claw at my face
—scratch marks displaying the agony within—
throw my water bottle at the wall,
watch the bottle burst open,
the wall crack,
—both broken, like me—

But here I sit,
mind racing but
urges contained.
My eyes close and I breathe deeply,
carefully reconstructing
my mask
—my illusion—
of being


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