Am I doing it right?
I took a bath with eight capfuls of eucalyptus bubble soap
Instead of the recommended four.
I ran the water fever hot.
I wonder how long that feeling will last on my skin.
It doesn’t last long.
The next day,
I read a poem about this bath
To my creative writing class.
Call that vulnerability.
Gold star for me and my vulnerability.
I make tea with my vulnerability,
And sometimes I let other people sniff the fumes—
But I never make a full ***
Because I guess I don’t want anyone else
to burn their tongues on my scalding vulnerability.
They like my poem, I think.
I don’t really listen to their response,
Am glad when it’s over.
I answer their questions about it without
Really answering their questions.
I don’t think they notice.
As for me,
I absorb their comments like vitamins
And, as such, the excess is filtered out
In the middle of the night when I’m trying to sleep.
When I do sleep, I try badly to stay awake,
When I must sleep, I am kept awake by various physical sensations,
Which I may complain about on Twitter
(Gold star for my vulnerability)
But maybe not, because I’m trying to detox,
And by that I mean I’ll stare
At Duolingo, the Atlantic, YouTube and Netflix,
Instead of Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok and Snapchat,
And when I talk about it to my friends,
I feel the need to compare myself to an addict
to get over heroine.
Because, in my mind, they are the same thing.
Call that empathy. Gold star for me and my empathy.
Am I doing it right yet?
This poem makes me feel good,
When I write something that makes me feel good,
I feel as though I could be talented.
But do I like myself for it?
If I get too cocky I might have to cut my own **** off,
Cut myself down to size.
But it’s no use, my ego haunts me
Like a bad childhood memory.
I didn’t feel guilt for the first time until I was fifteen.
It took that long
To feel sorry for pruning the leaves on my relationships,
until the plants disappeared
And I forgot what species they were.
Even now that I have friends I can admire,
Can I be trusted not to rate myself more highly?
Call that self-confidence.
Goldstar for me and my self-confidence.
When I get home from work,
I take another bath, hotter than before, with wine.
The wine and the heat make me dizzy, which is good
Because I can’t fall asleep unless I’m dizzy.
But later I will not be able to sleep
because this is my third hot bath in a row,
it’s winter, and my skin is so dry that it will itch and burn
As if every fabric I touch were made of fire ants.
But for now
I am comforted.
Call that self-care. Gold star for my self-care.
More of a participation trophy, really.