Why I Don’t Take Xanax
Because the sky outside right now is both
grey and violet and enough leaves are gone
that I can finally see it from my desk. Because
pills only teach you how to swallow. Because
it’s late but not yet evening. Because my cat has
jumped off my desk and I can type without her
tail on the keyboard. Because there are too many
rattling bottles in the world and I do not want
another one, or anyone’s permission to own it.
Because it’s gotten dark but the sky is still violet.
Because my worries are two screech owls, talking
back and forth, somewhere up the valley. Because
screech owls are quite small and almost invisible
by day, with dappled grey feathers like tree bark.
Because 2 AM is relative and it’s not 2 AM yet.
Because 2 AM passes like a stranger whistling
on his way home. Because I never wanted my
heart to walk a straight line in this magic world.
Editor’s Note: The repetition in this poem emphasizes the condition of the narrator—worried, a bit lost, but still uncomfortably sane (and surprisingly optimistic), as all of us are in the midst of this uncontrollable world.