I am nothing. Or maybe a thin layer of snow
On hibernating grass, a just-fallen leaf
Still twitching in the coffin of the frozen earth.
But there is a wind
Skipping like a boulder across the Atlantic, flapping
Like a great migratory bird whose wake will brush me aside,
Will reveal my emptiness to the fog.
Vehicles pass, their wheels spinning
Over me, their exhaust mingling with my breath;
The bundled walkers fail to see me,
And even the dogs miss my scent.
In the houses children press cold noses
Against cold glass, dreaming. Parents
Fold laundry, cook food, watch TV.
Boilers rumble from the basement.
Who is this that rumbles,
That rises, that falls, that fails?
There is nothing to recognize:
The grey sheet of time extends indefinitely.
Another car, a truck, carries packages somewhere—
A gift, a toy, a gadget, or something else?
Then silence as the snow settles like dust.
Then again pipes creak, TVs blare, forks clang,
The din of the healthy world.
I am suspended, stretched to the point of pain,
A bridge flanked by incarceration on one end
And freedom on the other.
I walk back and forth along myself,
Buffeted by cold, soaked by the mist
Of frigid water bashed against rocks,
Of the deep exhalations of chimneys.
There is no on-ramp, no off-ramp:
How did I get here?
They say that next week will be unseasonably warm.
I will at last emerge from the thaw, wet and groggy
As from a sweaty night cut short by nightmares soon forgotten,
And, in spite of myself, or because of myself,
Rejoin myself to rise from bed and rejoin the world.
This, my friends, is depression.
Monday, January 18, 2018