Last night I dreamt of institutions. A thousand days
of mood stabilizers and shock therapy.
A spoon rolls over my tongue
but I do not gag on the bitterness, my throat
is already full of what everyone else
needs to be comfortable
with me being alive.
My grandmother lives in Cuba.
Mother rarely speaks of her.
I close my eyes and a puddle forms
inside my skull. Beside it, in a rocking-chair
a bitter old man is braying something at the ooze
about it being one thing to imagine dying
and another to actually try it.
She woke one morning
and was gone.
Her body left a year later.
Mother hasn’t seen her in decades.
Lately, I’ve been speaking
in some dead or dying language
through an opaque shell
couched atop my shoulders. I scream
and no one hears me. My body is a glass box
I am always staring into. There is always
another room. We could call this place home
and disappear into its wild.
I tell my mother I am schizophrenic
just like grandma, and she says
“we don’t know for sure,”
while I watch
as every graveyard
begins to fill
with dancing ghosts. Mother—
I am growing you a city in my grief.
This morning I woke
and the puddle had gone.