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.