things i whisper to myself in the dark when i think no one is listening

My therapist tells me I have a tendency to lose myself
in other people, says that all I need to keep me sane

is perhaps a few more boundaries…
as if a white picket fence ever did anything

for anybody besides stand there and look pretty.
She then tells me empathy can be toxic if it leaves me

feeling like some unclaimed parcel
with no ownership of self, to which I will respond

with elaborate Home metaphors like, “Life’s not worth living
in an empty house.” Or, “What is land without a man

to make it his property? For only his hands can
turn worthless dirt into something

he’d call home, something he’d be proud of owning.”
Then, I’ll realize I’ve been explaining myself

into all the furniture I wish he had chosen for me.
Suddenly, I’ll be needing to feel chosen at all

by Somebody… Anybody!?
Because who am I besides a castle crumbling,

rotting, awaiting someone’s company.
See, my therapist thinks it’s unhealthy

that I’ve been spending all my time conjuring
strange banquets to fill my walls

with sounds of music, laughter, moaning…
Where food and drink are plenty for the suitors

who are honored guests at this, my humble housewarming.
A tour through my interior will find them gawking

down blank hallways, galleries meant for them
to project their needs. I am always pictured kneeling

or else seated at the head of my own dinner table.
I will carry on conversations with them

until I see that all this time my table has been empty
and realize I’ve really just been talking to myself….

Yet, sometimes I’ll come home to find my walls
draped in tapestries unfurling patterns

I have woven So(u)l into and I feel full again.
The feeling never lasts.

Then Sorrow will cast his spells and shadows
down halls, now dimly-lit, each token

an invitation for his friend Darkness to join in.
They will then take both my hands

and lead me someplace we can be Alone
before they take turns singing nothing sweet,

turning headboards into headstones.
Their visitation, henceforth, a reminder

that Loneliness isn’t the worst company after all…
On these nights, I will find it hard to sleep.

Yet, I will tell my therapist that losing myself
in other people is a great alternative to suicide

because, honestly, who doesn’t want to die
one small death at a time?

For that, I tell her frankly, I will gladly pay
my weight in pounds of flesh…

gladly pay the price of being inhabited.


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