A PANICKED PULL

Beat. Break. Beat. Break.

Is there a monitor of these movements

                that shift beneath the skin? A rummaging

within the ribs. I hear a broken bird

                beating against the bars of its cage,

broken.

All organs and organisms need oxygen and optimism.

Panic. Breathe. Panic. Breathe.

I shift within skin whose movements

                I cannot monitor. I have mounded

matters into metal I cannot master. Alchemist

                is not altruist. I can be an organ

of oxygen

but cannot count on optimism.

Breathe and so fill my lungs, air entering,

                blood flowing through arteries, the rising

and falling, the beating and beating

                and for every beat; a break, for each breath of air;

a drowning.

A bird was not born to fly under water.

Beat. Break. Beat. Break.

Medical is not the same as mental but mental

is now being measured out by medicinal.

Run. Rest. Run. Rest.

Running from the nest, the rest, the rest of me,

                    the mess that has been left in place

of all the rest that has left.

What has been left?

I stop in the park and watch the rest, watch a bird

                break from perch, bold and brave, unfold

against the force, feathers in flight, feathers in fight,

                winded in the chest. Pushed back. Pushing forward.

Pushed back.

Beat. Back. Beat. Back.

I cannot handle heights, I have felt too much

                the fall, my feathers are for fancy now.

I am done with flying. I am digging, deep

                within the ground, deep within the body.

I will pull out every root

till I pluck the panic

and catch a breath again that I can breathe.

Pull. Panic. Pull. Harder.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly