R. Thursday

I don’t know how to focus

That is, I don’t know how to do one thing at a time –
That is, I feel that only doing one thing at a time is failure –
That is, I don’t feel I can accomplish any one thing so must softly fail at many things –
That is, my thoughts are irradiated lotuses, bloom and disintegrate,
That is, I was just going to make soup, which called for a sandwich, 
which tempted bacon, which reminded me there were eggs to devil, a devil, 
a spirit, a wraith, a ghost, my white cat needing her litter box emptied 
like the dishwasher, like the recycling,
meanwhile the meeting intended to make me a drone carved from efficacy, 
data-driven itself drones from my pocket, it’s work, 
I need to work out, need to work out a plan, 
work out the tangles in my head, meanwhile, 
my one obligatory task on the backburner, 
like the soup, the kettle, crying, no wait that’s me, crying, 
I mean burning, I mean my eyes feel
full of lava, the keening is only inside my head, 
it’s the starting line whistle, 
a countdown, a quicktime event, 
how much can you complete before the steam spins out, spirals like anxiety 
and now you must lie down, there are only two settings, 
I hope you won, I mean defeated, I mean took down that to do list 
because the lightning in your limbs is now lead and you 
will not be leaving this bed, I mean this coffin, I mean 
cough out the stress, except stress out from the cough, 
I mean the cause, I mean write down the poem while it’s right, right, 
before there’s nothing left, left to do, 
leftovers piling up in the fridge 
you were supposed to finish cleaning last night, 
while you did laundry, while justified your space in this house 
with a broomstick sweep, 
while you emptied the sink, emptied the trash, 
so like your chest, dumping garbage out till you’re just
Empty.

R. Thursday (they/them) is a writer, educator, and all-around nerd. When not subverting Middle School public education curriculum, they can be found reading, gaming, cooking or writing about vampires, mental health, superheroes, space, queerness, or most likely, some combination of all. They were nominated for a Rhysling Award, and their work can be found in Star*Line, Eye to the Telescope, Luna Station Quarterly, Vulture Bones, Sheepshead Review, The Poet’s Haven, Drunk Monkeys, and other fine publications. They live in South King County, Washington.