by Rob Colgate
How come if you don’t understand my language,
my personhood is in question?
— A.M. Baggs
My words bent to your shape.
My diploma. My diplomacy.
How I sleep so early.
How I drink so much coffee
and when I order at Quack’s
I walk in and smile and say, this heat, right?
A heat builds inside me and I cool it.
Your proper homeothermic boy.
Your bioluminescent starkid.
The poster child of schizophrenia
who did everything you asked me to.
I memorized all of those labels
on the little orange bottles,
gathered the tulips that were not
too bright in the first place.
Fine, I will take my meds in a minute.
I will cede to your idea of peacefulness.
When I dream, I will pry open my own peace
and not shut it until health is far away.
You were supposed to write the essay
about comfort, use all of those really
fabulous, pertinent facts
about diagnosis and slipperiness
and pain, drink enough coffee
to get the work done. But all you’ve done
is cry about that one article with the blankets
and procrastinated pouring your next
coffee. You used to drink so much
coffee. Now you keep letting yourself
sleep. Rob, wake up. There is so much
left on the page to cross out.
Too many lines about worrying. Too much
said about coffee. This is hard. You always
get so upset with him, spill coffee everywhere.
Early bird gets the worm but early worm gets
eaten and then the timely worm gets eaten
by the timely bird and this goes on all day
and at night there are night birds and night worms
the birds shoving their beaks into the thankless
ground chirping we only want to free the worms
those poor crawling fucks crawler don’t you want
to fly if it is the last thing you do
Rob Colgate is an MFA student at UT studying poetry and disability. He is the author of the chapbook So Dark The Gap, winner of the 2020 ReadsRainbow Award for poetry.