I don't know the physical
science of emotions:
synapse, cerebrum, amygdala.
But when for an instant
while walking the dog
I recall the moment
years back I decided
to swallow all the Alprazolam
& the Diphenhydramine
& dig a box cutter into my wrist,
& the dog flinches.
He counters with a new story. Unrecognizable.
Insists I am misremembering.
I puzzle for a moment. No, I assert, I am not.
He turns his face into one of pity.
Then grave concern. Shakes his head.
I lurch backward. Clutch my chest, gasping.
I am terrified.
This is it, I think, It’s happening. My mind. My mind.
For a moment, and then for years, I believe him.
Jeanann Verlee is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow and the author of two books, Said the Manic to the Muse and Racing Hummingbirds, which was awarded a silver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Her third book, prey, was first runner-up for the 2016 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award and will be published by Black Lawrence Press in 2018. She is a recipient of the Third Coast Poetry Prize and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize, and her work appears in Adroit, The Journal, Yemassee and BuzzFeed Reader, among others. Verlee wears polka dots and kisses Rottweilers. She believes in you. Find her at jeanannverlee.com.