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Alyson Lie Jun 2015
The day she woke up with the worst panic attack ever,
the kind that threatens complete mental collapse,
an implosion into the uncharted territory of insanity,

she recovered enough to rise from her bed, make tea,
stumble through her usual routine, all the while
feeling the powerful effects of an emotional hangover

identical to the sort one has after a heated, one-sided
argument between lovers or a parent and child.
Part of her felt sheepish, apologetic, wanting

for all the world to undo what had been done;
the other part--wounded, skittish, like a mongrel
in a shelter kennel, an untold history of life’s atrocities.
Alyson Lie Jun 2015
She sits—left leg upon right,
right hand resting in left,

eyes closed, watching joy drift
among sorrows; up one minute,

down the next; a Ferris wheel
of fear and loneliness, then

moments of letting go;
the brows furrowed and then

a smile on her lips—the way a
cellist emotes herself through Bach.

Others have said to her that she is
lucky to be so groundless, to be

free of any misapprehension that
life is perfect or that it will be easy.

She knows better than that.
And because she does, she can take

the crests and the troughs as they come—
a part of the ocean and not the wave.
Alyson Lie Jun 2015
You forgive everyone
for not knowing,

or understanding,
or even caring,

because you know
this is the way humans are.

This is the way, at times,
even the one you should hold most dear,

the one who goes by your name
and lives in your skin, behaves.
Alyson Lie Jun 2015
It was as if you’d handed me
the most delicate thing in the world—

a lotus blossom made of moth wings;
a newborn's first breath;
the heartbeat of a sleeping humming bird.

And I shall do my clumsy best
to hold it with all the
tenderness that it deserves.
Alyson Lie Jun 2015
Like the first crocus in late winter,
the bicycle on River Street,

buried under four feet of snow
since January, begins, in March,

to reveal pale pink plastic roses,
vines of ivy and purple violets

dangling from the wire basket
attached to its handlebars.
Alyson Lie Jun 2015
Once fully liberated, she rides her antique, three-speed bike down the small hill from her campsite to the:  RESTROOMS – SHOWERS – PAYING CAMPERS ONLY. She dismounts and goes into the well-kept, recreational facilities and takes a hot, 50-cent, seven-minute shower, arching her soapy back against the white tiles, rubbing her soapy front in the same spot, up and down and up, and then, rinsed, she stands, dripping wet in front of the first full-length mirror she's seen in weeks, gyrating her hips, mocking pin-up poses to herself and all god's good-looking men with a sense of the absurd, then she wraps her towel around, tying the knot between her *******. She stands outside in the sweet, Santa Vidian air, finger-drying her hair and imagining, unabashedly imagining, guys in the campsite above, eating fresh-cooked meat and ogling her. Then she takes off down the road, pale green nightgown fluttering against the rear spokes, past Bonnie's trailer where from sundown till 11pm you can hear the best country music: Randi Travis, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Sr. She pulls up to her sweet “Bleu Belle,” shushes the dogs reflexively, hops off the bicycle, and turns, eyes closed, face upraised into a rare shaft of redwood forest sun.
Published in another form in Bagels With the Bards, No. 3
Alyson Lie Jun 2015
You are ambushed
the very second you awaken
by a rabid animal trapped inside your skull.

It drags its claws across your brain stem,
races down your chest, past your heart
to your stomach where it begins
gnawing on the fleshy parts.

Every muscle contracts, holding tightly
to what you know you should let go of.

You turn on your side, trying to hide,
knowing wherever you turn it will follow.

You plead--What have I done?
I didn't ask for this.
I swear, whatever it is, I am innocent.

You take deep breaths:
rising, falling...
rising, falling....

One of you begins to calm down,
you can't tell which. You take this
opportunity to let go just a little
and the animal scurries up to your chest,
holding your heart hostage.

You focus on your breathing again:
rising, falling...
rising, falling....

Once the palpitations stop
you muster the courage to take a peek,
to look the beast in the eyes.

It's OK, you say. *It's OK.
I'm not going to hurt you.
I promise.

— The End —