The Woman Who Can’t Leave The House

—————I know you———-hate
it when I’m late…——just one
—–more glance and————–now my shoes look brown.

—–And does this little dress  make me look fat?

———-Now everything looks wrong.
—————Lips too glossy, cheeks too red.
———-My teeth seem yellow now.
—–I just won’t smile…
—————my palms will go clammy…. If
—–I try to talk….my voice will crack.
—–…I have to leave, right now,
———————what if no one
—–talks to me?——————————What if someone talks
—————–to me?

———————————I’ll blush.
————————And the shame
————————when I begin to sweat and tremble. My chest…..
————————My heart…..
—————–I cannot breathe.
—————————-People gather…
—————————————————–A flock
———–of crows, they caw—“Okay? Are you okay?”

—————————-….They think I’m ill,
—————–call 911… paramedics
—————–rushing in….—————————–my heart
———————————just pounds, a thousand
—————————————————flutter to get free ….

Naomi Cohn is a writer, therapist and teaching artist who works with older adults and people with vision loss. Red Dragonfly Press published a chapbook of her poems on insects, Between Nectar & Eternity, in 2013. Her writing has also appeared in About Place, Fourth River, Water~Stone and Fish Stories, among other places. She is the author of a handbook on organizing around urban watersheds and is the former editor of Disclosure, a national publication on community organizing. She is currently working on a collection of essays about the experience of learning to read braille as an adult.

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