‘You Enter a Wilderness’ by Greg Santos

on anxiety

You enter
a wilderness.
Another flare up.

Bats in an attic,
your thoughts get locked in together,
wings jostling for importance.

You feel your heart racing,
you put your fingers to your neck,
your wrist, back to your chest.

No sign of a heartbeat.
Did it somehow sneak out of your chest,
a thief into the night?

You focus on the crack of moonlight
through the door.
Maybe your heart snuck out that way.

You somehow remember the moon is a mirror.
That thought momentarily comforting,
before your thoughts cloud over once again.

You can only wait
for this fog-mind to dissipate,
but who knows how long it will last?



My mind is doing jumping jacks.
Only my beloved, our doctor, and I know.

I am used to sending off my poems into the unknown.
They go forth like little pioneers.

But this is different.
It is the hum before the computer shuts down.

It is that moment after the movie trailers end
but before the feature presentation begins.

The exact second when the dog
spots the popcorn kernel hovering mid-air.

It is the tick before the tock,
the instant before the clock strikes midnight.

That jolt of electricity before lips first touch.
It is the moment before the line turned blue.

And again the moment before another turned blue a
second time, just to be sure.



Alone in our apartment
I notice how quiet it really is without you.

The creak of my chair, the clicks as I type,
my breathing, the hum of the fridge:

sounds I took for granted,
amplified by your absence.

Tapping from within the walls, mice perhaps,
dull breathing of heating vents, the apartment

filling with invisible guests.
I put on Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

Voices of ghosts
to keep me company.


GREG SANTOS is the author of Blackbirds (Eyewear Publishing, 2018), Rabbit Punch! (DC Books, 2014), and The Emperor’s Sofa (DC Books, 2010). He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. He regularly works with at-risk communities and teaches at the Thomas More Institute. He is the poetry editor of carte blanche and lives in Montreal with his wife and two children.

Copyright © 2018 by Greg Santos. All rights reserved.