Lesson in Noticing


Every night, when my fears swell up
in my bottom lip I chew a hole
in the corner of my mouth
to burst them. My mouth tastes
like biting a dime, my nose
starts to run but I can’t quit.
Yesterday I took the 733 from Santa Monica,
and through the back window I saw
a woman with a walker
wipe out as she tried to cross Main alone.
We were tooling down Venice before
I could see if anyone helped her up.
When we bumped to a stop at Lincoln, the jolt
tore open the hole in my lip, and I tried
to keep the person next to me
from seeing I was crying, curled
my lip into my mouth and sucked
out the salt. Still, fears follow me
from my stop to my apartment and seek
refuge in locked doors. They dream the word forget
in cursive, or fall down in the middle of the street
just to see if anyone will notice.