I Know My Panic Loves Me Because It Wants Me To Live
I know my panic loves me because it wants me to live.
I know this as I shiver in the swelling lung
of night & sit violently upright & there is a man
in my room doing nothing but dissolving. The man
of course, is not my father, dead as he is
so I must stay perfectly still or kill or I must run
into the field—though there is no field & even from death
I do not run. My father told me once, that, young,
he’d had to bolt from the barber shop—a quickening
of the blood, heart flipping like a fish in a storm
of air. He told me this the day I called him, buzzing
with some preliminary model—flies & forks
of lightning, inheritance unfurling like a flag on fire.
O what could love like this—that even at
the merest suggestion begs us go, begs us live? Only
you. O panic. If this is an ode, it is late-blooming,
as you have been, coming for me now that he is
gone, now that your original vessel has nothing left
to tell me. I try to slumber & you zip up my stomach—
avalance of opals from my asshole to my throat—
I demolish the boundaries of friends & paramedics,
take myself to the ER & tell some tech, trembling,
of my father’s terrible end. What are you trying
to defend me from? What phantom waits in the folds
of sleep & what will happen if I kiss him on the ear?
It’s okay. You can let me go. If I must dissolve into
the air, if I am my own hallucination, so be it. Love me
then by distances. The day I found him you found me &
I thank you. How I stood frozen by his body, how
you leapt from it & into mine, & knowing, little terror,
down what well I might have fallen, you moved
to catch me, to haul me to my feet, to shove me
back out of that tightening light, into what
you cannot say.
Jeremy Radin is a poet, actor, and teacher. His poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Gulf Coast, The Journal, Passages North, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Collapsar, Winter Tangerine, and elsewhere. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Slow Dance with Sasquatch (Write Bloody Publishing, 2012) and Dear Sal (not a cult press, 2017). He lives in Los Angeles with his four plants and refrigerator. Follow him @germyradin.