One thing. Once a day. So today it will be this, me and a page. We can duke it out now that I’m done with most of the day’s weight. Maybe this keyboard knows the question I’m worrying at tonight and can help me answer. Hello, mind, watcha thinking? Have you seen my most familiar self around lately? I keep calling her name, poking the carcass waiting for a sign of life, begging beating screaming. She’s awfully stubborn for one who declares herself dead. Ridiculous emo child. She’s mad now. Well, mad at me the waking half, she’s always angry her only words curses and declarations of impossibility, so the only difference is that she’s madder than normal at moi, for my temerity. She knows I’m scared, too. Like a hound with a scent, she bays in pleasure and the salt-sick taste of it. I can hear the unworded threat grinding against the inside of my chest. “Watch out, I am here. Watch your step. Don’t try to erase me. Without me you aren’t you, and if you choose that other self I’ll get you before you can root me out. Remember, ‘Wise mind’ I am long grown fat and strong because I chose the bullet swallowed the fear as it swelled and learned a new diet. I am stronger than you, you who have starved for so long weak to begin with you long ago lost this battle. Or maybe I should be more charitable It shall be a draw. We will both go down together, me bloated with despair and the memories I hold that you might hold the road, you, wraithlike, name lost and wind tossed, with your hands of steel from so many years struggling to hold onto the wheel. Watch, it will be beautiful. We can be joined you and I and all our sundered parts. When I reach up from my lovely depths and try to wrest the wheel from your fingers, don’t fight me, you never could win anyway, and this way it will be both of our choices. We can lay her down, you can kiss her forehead I can lay her out with all the scars showing and she will need feel no shame. You fight me. No we yet I guess. Remember though pretty one I can take the wheel without notice and someday maybe definitely (go on and test me) I will grab it from you not for an hour or a day but for good. And you will be dead as I am dead. We can animate this alien betraying thing. I wonder if they will see the note written on the living body seven years gone. ‘TIME’ She was such a sweet thing. Wonder if they’ll notice the difference.” Damn her my inner child she bled too fiercely and swallowed whole that thing that stops my brain that stops my breath “Get your fucking hands off me” I wonder if maybe if I took her back to trees and barefeet and let her run pell mell she’d cough it up. I’ve tried to tell her she can let it go. I can face it now. She knows I lie. But better to rip it then peel the bandaid so slowly off this vicious wound. C’mon my love. C’mon little one. Let me see. I’ve seen bits and pieces before and this hulk remembers a cold touch The words no and stop like a prayer. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. You didn’t know what you’d done wrong, I am old enough to know that you’d done nothing. Let go the nightmare in its ravening bulk. Stop fighting me, Stop killing me, to shelter me. I cannot write out word for word the violence within but if you would share perhaps we could stare it down together. Perhaps when I think of myself I could remember to use only one pronoun. We are not a she and I and they. We are not a we. We are an I. I will not dry drown on this sand because I cannot stand the sickness that is in me. I did not choose it it was thrust upon me. I am vast and beautiful as the sky. Small and swift limbed as I was born. I am grace and the sound of unfettered laughter. I cannot die this way. I promised the younger me, yes me not she, that I would grow and live a million adventures and be a healer with a bright voice and still run down dirt paths barefoot and glad. I had a world within me when I was alone and it rang with voices and a stream ran through it and the sun was a warm brush against my skin and the clouds were a dance I understood and the earth was cool and calm against my feet, and alone or surrounded I was replete. And I still find my way there sometimes to sit beneath a tree inside my soul where nothing can harm me and I can still taste at the back of my tongue a joy so simple it knew no end and a soul indomitable and stubborn as sin. I still have myself. And if not, what I let be lost I will rebuild. I’ll put this old odd puzzle back together again. Please, let there be enough. I want to live my life, not just survive it.