by Hannah Nathanson
I face my nightmares from years ago
and whisper to their unknown,
walk through their skin
and leave this coffin empty—
either I’ll find life in their darkness
Or darkness in their life.
I’m seeing my ending
between the moment I knew I was still a kid,
and the moment I realized
I was getting dumber as I aged.
If I catch my joy up ahead I’ll be alive again,
taking advantage of existence
like everyone does,
but I can’t feel reality in my arms
unless I sprint through pitch black,
something no one’s body will let them do
for a good reason.
Pitch black surrounds people
and fills their soul,
and it eats mine
as I trudge through it like water.
I won’t leave what I know is all I have,
even if it means getting what I need.
But I will do anything not to go back
to where I’m lifeless, waiting for something better.
Now after I’ve struggled through the endless shadows,
I feel the happiness I’ve just found
slipping through my fingers like a tablecloth.
I can hear someone digging to come see me.
Now I’m back to the days of being over,
remembering I’m a done deal in the ground
losing my nervous system and mental senses,
stuck coming back to life again in my head
over and over again
only to realize it’s just a dream.
The person who woke me can’t undo
pulling me away
from a world of knowns and unknowns.
At least one of those things I could handle.
Where I am now, there’s only the second one.
I can feel her looking down at me,
and she needs to learn that once she’s woken me up,
it’s permanent, and once you’ve done anything,
it’s irreversible. If there’s anything I know
from my death, it’s that you can’t go back
and change what you’ve decided to do.
I’m realizing what it feels like to be
counted as part of the population as I take the body.
No one will know who I really see
when I look in the mirror—
who feeds my every decision—
and now I’ll find my way in the caliginous night.
No one will know who took the light from their eyes
as I show them what it feels like
to have the last moment they get to see the world,
or walk through it blindsided.
Hannah Nathanson has three previously published poems. The first was printed in aScottish literary journal entitled Northern Light, the second in an anthology of Winter poems by Poet’s Choice, and the third in J.V. Hilliard’s Vorodin’s Lair. She is writing three more poems for the third book in his series. Before her second published work, in 2019, she received a Bachelor’s degree in English Writing with a focus in fiction from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently works as a writer and editor of product copy that goes on Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, eBay, Kohl’s, and other online marketplaces.
Find Hannah online here! https://www.instagram.com/hannah_spelled_forwards/