i’m crying, as i get down on my

hands and knees in the shower

with my clothes still on and

dry heave. nothing comes up.

i shift my little weight so that

my hands are on my knees. 

i take a few ragged breaths.

i reach up and turn the cold

water on; i sit with my back

up against hard enamel. try

my breathing again, tell 

myself, ‘you are not stuck

here.’ i repeat it, through

tears and sharp, painful 

breaths. i remember a time

when it meant i was capable.

now, it just means i have my

permission to shuffle off

whenever i think it’s time.

maybe come back and try

again as a snake, or a rat.

but my past selves are buried

in cheap, shallow graves

and sometimes when it 

rains too hard, their toes 

or their noses or the tops of

their folded hands become

                    visible again.

Dani Tauber is a basket-case poet, professional ghost, former music journalist, and antiques archivist from NJ. She shares a room with more than 50 journals and several antique locks of hair. She doesn’t know what she’s mourning yet, but she’s beyond consolation.

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