When My Therapist Asks Me To Explain What 90 Seconds of Safety Feels Like, I Can Only Think of One Example

When she asks if I need anything,

I want to say milk or water or nothing

Something easy to swallow

Unlike this stump,

which has shed so many useless branches,

my throat can no longer grow around the bark

The first time I creak lemon ginger tea

through my tight, nervous pulp,

I wait for the no to seep in

But she boils the water, steeps the bag, and hands off

the steaming mug like it’s a sleeping child

And I cannot reconcile this with the request

I have seen splintered

into a century’s worth of deep cut

rings of disappointment and betrayal and humility

The tea, if it was ever present in my folktales

before, it was only an instrument for

drowning

 

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