When I Bite My Tongue I Think of the Year I Was Addicted to Xanax

and it was a wild year. i have more wild years than anything
else. the maenad years: old blood & new wine & fresh sex
w/ people more afraid of you then you are of them. xanax can
make you forget to feed

exactly what is making you hungry enough to starve yourself
into a drunk eyed joy, a pair of scissors running, the party filled
to capacity.

i wasn’t ever too tired to take one more pill. never
too exhausted to exercise my rights to disappearing. fresh adulthood does
that, either makes you want to be seen all the time or never seen at all.

i was somewhere between bodies, my own & others. i was far enough
away from home to never be found again. it was white people & meth
everywhere. i aint trust neither enough

to try, but both were so close i could
feel an explosion coming everywhere I stood. That did not scare me

as much as made me wonder how
many new ways i could learn to walk. & when i did go back home. i was barely
recognizable. half of who i was they said. a trick i played

on no one with the exception
of myself. but what did they know about forgetting? had they

ever felt the good strong lick of memory loss? it can be ecstasy, forgetting, it can
be a secret lover who never asks you your name but manages to call it
over & over again. & makes your name something
it had never been before,

an exit sign. the door

from Alice In Wonderland, i am my favorite fairy
tale. i eat the pills, i get smaller. i chase time away from me & beg
it to come back. i make incomplete friends out of complete strangers.

i come home. i am detoxed. they can’t stop me
from talking about all the wild shit i’ve seen. until i do,
i am on my own. when i do speak, its of tea cups
roasting in a fire of flowers. i yell

about catapillars & card games & beheadings & over
doses. i don’t talk about my weight. i let them
do it .

i look at my old pictures and see that i am
now tiny, like when a rumor begins. rabbit holes
where my eyes were. weed where my lungs
lived. a dozen creatures scurrying
in the forest of me,

each with their own
language. some cruel. some kind,
mostly whatever is left over from cruel & kind
i know every word. i am every tongue
lashing at once.

i never explain why i left, 19 & my fathers murder
3 years behind me & a lifetime ahead. his grave won’t sit
still, it follows me everywhere, like a prophecy, he is

close right now, his smile wide
as his gunshot wound. neither disappear
as fast as i do. it’s not that i don’t want to tell
them how close they are to a ghost. being haunted is hard
to explain, i just bite my tongue & yes it hurts

& the pain is blinding, i mean to say good Lord everything is
gone for a moment. i am here & nothing else
is trying to kill me.

Siaara Freeman is 27 years of dramatic entrances and exits & from Cleveland Ohio. She is a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee, 2016 Best New Poet nominee, 2017 Bettering American Poetry nominee & a 2017 button chapbook contest finalist. She is the founder of online magazine wusgood.black and an editor for Tinderbox Literary Journal.She is the current coach for the Detroit Brave New Voices team. In her spare time she is growing her afro so tall, God mistakes it for a microphone & speaks into her. You can find some of her work in Crab Fat Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Black Napkin Press

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