Atlanta Word Works / all

Poem and photo by Laila Sokera Henderson, 19, Oglethorpe University

VOX Teen Poetry: Dichotomy

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managing my cold sweats and nightmares
is quite a task
By quite a task I mean extremely difficult, seemingly impossible, and nonetheless necessary
so I split myself in two for help
just to manage.
I sit in my own lap, rocking in a chair
a rocking chair.
We sleep on a mattress on the floor so that there is no space for anything under the bed
Nightlight on.
I am afraid to stay by myself
By afraid I mean not allowed to
because I aftershock so much that I can never stop shaking
so there is no option but to split
crack myself against the kitchen counter and break clean in half
make room in the house for me and me
It’s the only way I can breathe walk cook eat work sleep write while holding all my knives and mirrors
Only way I keep from scratching and burning at the smell of pepper and peroxide
only way I can keep from grinding gravel with my teeth to drown out the gnashing in my head
me and me have to manage
I am often a coin
by often I mean always
chancing and flipping and landing
maintaining a delicate balancing act
as it is
the only way I can manage such a task.

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