Crazy ruminations in the night.
Neurotic perfectionist insomnia.
Something I said to a girl
in the eighth grade that came out wrong.
The guilt of a Halloween egging
of a favorite teacher’s house.
Calling Karen “Carol” at the mall
a year after graduation.
Trivial things stuck in my memory
as if I lack a filter
for memories full of pulp.
That tournament in Ashland, Kentucky
when I was seventeen,
caught looking at a third strike
to end the championship game.
I swear the ball was outside
but Christ, I’m fifty-one!
How I punched my best friend Jon
as a kid playing kickball in the alley
giving him a bloody nose.
How I ran home and felt terrible
and couldn’t remember why I did it.
Later he forgave me and we were friends,
though things were never the same.
My mind like a pesky collection agency
always calling for unpaid debts.
Depression and anxiety, anxiety and
depression, from a mind that won’t turn off.
A stupid mistake on a job seventeen years ago,
even dreams from early childhood
that pop up over and over again.
Like the one where I am balancing
on a wobbly stack of furniture
somewhere in the dark void,
my family walking up a lighted ramp
oblivious to my situation.
There’s the sound of a carnival
at the top of the ramp,
but one false move toward them
and I would go falling
into the imagined abyss.
If I could only embrace
these countless imperfections
perhaps there’d be a place to sleep.