Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

The View is Distorted

It’s when the walls close in a little, when the room is full but you are the only one there in the center but on the side. The spotlights come on as eyes pointed at you like fingers not able to ignore, as though each one traces your silhouette, head to toe, and the light, the light never lies. But my hands tell the truth in the tremble of the lie detector built in my chest and the way honesty makes it pound with the warming. I am flushed over, catching my breath tells me so, and I become trapped in that moment, where my heart is telling me to run, but my mind says there is no exit. My mind is right. There never is an exit, but it tells me to create one. Whatever it takes, no matter what, get out… just go. Because the lights are only there to watch like the eyes are only seeing you and I don’t think there’s a way to run from that. But I have to before I rip myself open to get out of this skin. I have to before my heart busts out to run away without me. And it’s one look, wrong or right or neutral, it cuts into me, as if the eyes are telling me secret thoughts of a stranger, and it’s too loud not to hear, too strong not to see. Looking but rating, seeing but judging and it’s too much. It’s just too much. My feet stop working you know? I have to steady my breathing but it never hushes the screaming from within. My mind isn’t right but I’m not sure that’s wrong. I only know for sure the spotlights burn my eyes even when they’re closed. #stephaniebennetthenry

3 thoughts on “The View is Distorted”

  1. I am not much subject to panic attacks, but still, I had to take a moment to breathe. A memory comes, somehow connected with the feeling here. In college, in Washington, DC, long, long ago, I used to go to the National Zoo. Much of it was old fashioned even then, many animals on those old bare cages, including the big cats. The cat house hall was “T” shaped. The cage at the junction of the “T” held a black leopard, a magnificent creature, powerful, graceful, with blazing golden eyes. It was always pacing, pacing back and forth on the other side of the bars and watching with hunting eyes whoever came by. Since then, I’ve always had a special fondness for black cats, but I cannot keep one confined against its will, not free to roam, hunt, play.

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