A chapbook excerpt by Kathryn Jones

Kathryn Jones, Grand Central
Grand Central, Photo by Author

the water is too hot but you do not change it. you sit and curl your shoulders inward. the water is too hot. it is scalding. your skin is becoming mottled- bright redness peppering your shoulders. you can hardly breathe.

later on you light a cigarette. you do not like to smoke but you persist at the habit. the cigarette dangles from your fingers lifelessly like an unnecessary appendage. you do not know why you started or why you have not quit but it is perpetual. in a few pulls the cigarette is exhausted. you light another and it makes you feel disgusting. you finish it too.

lately you have felt outside of your body. everything is too crowded. there are too many people. you start to panic

one day you walk up from the subway and realize you are at Ground Zero. you did not mean to be there but you are there. again there are too many bodies. you breathe the air deeply. it is thick with sorrow, but soft. there are too many bodies.

you feel like an insect. you do not know where you are going but you are following an instinctual drive and the gleaming hub of bodies.

please take your time.

you begin to breathe too quickly.

please take your time.

your body does what it accustomed to doing—stutters—and your chest begins to come undone. you feel too open.

you remember the conversation you had in the kitchen. it was a long time ago. you were trying to explain what it felt like to him—you had the burning sense that he did not know—all he had to say was:
   let it soothe you.

your body slows. everything is green and you have found the river.

you are very tired, but you do not need to rest. it is not unpleasant.

Kathryn Jones is an American writer living in Boston. She is particularly fond of haikus and dead stuff/taxidermy and rescues animals in her free time.