“We are all animals” – Prose-Poem by Maggy Curran

Fiction, Poetry


yesterday, i was three years old, kicking my legs from the porch swing. my father sat next to me and held my ears when there was thunder. i pushed him off because i liked the loud noise, it meant that the rain was close. i was three and i would count the bites of my sandwich so my mother wouldn’t die.

yesterday i sang with you on a mountain. we’d watch the stars on a rock: you were beautiful, i was in transition. am i done moving now? yesterday i would run in place and go nowhere. we sat in the woods and smoked too much, mixed too much happiness with the rest of our fears, yesterday. remember the time that the trees came down on us while we were lying there? the branches could have been arms, the leaves his fingers, we would have never stopped crying.

yesterday i sat with you and you told me you’d disappear into the stars if you could. yesterday i felt like a galaxy. i missed breakfast and you found me, curled me up inside you.

you told me that this too shall pass, this too shall pass. but then you went to find it, and i lost you, and it never passed.  


do you remember driving to the bridge? i don’t want you to answer yes, i want you to tell me you remember the sky, the bitter chill, the teardrops in the road. the words i never screamed, the water rushing past on that bit of impossible route where we were so close to death, or maybe life. i want you to remember how fast you went and why you did it. why you would pick me up and we would sit there in silence we still have not broken. the night before your thirty-sixth birthday i will pretend not to care but really i will pray for the first time in many, many years.  (come on, die young.) 

what happened to us? 


what happened to us? 

did i really love you? 


my legs are bowed, my knees touch. i look childish. eyes encircled by bruise, can’t keep my hands still. am i sick? am i sick?  

are you sick? no.  

my brain moves too fast for my mouth and sometimes i’m caught at a crossroads and forget what i was talking about. sometimes you’re talking and i’m thinking and they don’t meet up. sometimes you get angry at me for not listening, when i am. i just can’t tell you. 

do you remember the last time you took a deep breath? do you remember what love meant five years ago? ten years ago? two minutes ago?  


winter comes, slowly, then all at once. it is brutal and unforgiving. you leave one day; your possessed body lifting itself from cotton sheets. standing, like deer in headlights. death standing on bony knees. fold me up in your arms like a blanket. in a soiled dress on bathroom tile, my hands numb.  

and then you are gone. 


and we are the wild ones, once again; people hunt us at dusk and we run like startled deer. waiting till the sun rises, we become our own hunters, gatherers, survivors. we are a herd of magic animals, these lean creatures traveling in unison. it seems perfect the way we move.

the young cling to life’s entanglements, the rarities in rhythm. with age the body starts following the sun, the rising and setting of the day. and i have not felt the energy of the moon, the intensity in a long time. i am no longer empowered with nightfall. soon you must save it all for the risks of the day, whatever the dawn brings you. it may be leaps and bounds till your next breath- the relief of feeling the lungs expand, collapse. 


i want to feel safe again. i passed out in the kitchen with a glass of water in my hand. all i was trying to do was find some balance. here i stand, craving stability. craving gravity. craving a body that is not a constant war zone.  

i am no soldier. 

(this is like being in bed with you,

but the fight was for us, not against.) 


yes, okay, yes, i have been drinking too much, eating too little — yes, food has become a separate, dead, decaying entity again; i live in a world where i exist and food does not. i do not know my weight, i do not know my or your or anyone’s impact on the world, i do not know where i will wake up tomorrow, what religion means to me.  

somehow you get lost in my disease, under the folds of fabric that hide my inability to control. i wish the thought of you was enough to keep you away. i wish i could tell you what it feels like to want to rip your outside off with everything you are, but i can’t, i can’t. i want you to change back into who you once were. 

i want you to stop believing in lies and money and sex.

(i wish i could feel you. i wish you could hurt me.) 

all i know is i can find everyone who i have ever loved in the mirror. they all get lost in symbols of space. you are not among them. 


i only feel the fire when i am dancing. colliding with the other world. the fire in my muscles, i am constantly ruled by the fight response. i still have your jacket, the blue pinstriped one. do you remember those nights when you made my heart — built it with your hands?  


you said we are waiting for infinity to knock on our door, but sometimes i think that i burn down houses searching for something that is not death or ruin or paralyzation, something that lasts and does not die 

maybe you’re right,

maybe it has to find us. 


is art about loneliness? 


do i destroy everything i touch?


(Editor’s Note: the image is from www.artsjournal.com/…/09/tt_things_i_miss.html)


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