ANXIETY, Bonnie Schell

by Bonnie Schell

I woke up one morning and all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates. 
–Steven Wright

I woke up one night to sirens and went to the front porch.
Paramedics had stopped outside my house.
I turned off the lights to signal they should leave
because I had not called – had I? 

This is a nice place to live 
but you wouldn’t want to disappear here.
Police only look after 72 hours. 
If you don’t reappear, well-meaning people 
go through your closets wondering why 
all your white blouses are used, stained with coffee, 
and missing a button at the waistline.  They put them 
in the Goodwill box. You trace them down and buy them back.

Through the corner of the drapes 
I see the paramedics writing on clipboards.
They may have come because I failed 
to show for a peace and freedom march,
waiting instead for green slant-eyed creatures
to take us up for probing or brave
curly-haired heroes to return our magic ring.

I see the paramedics climb back into their cab, 
hear the sirens wail, a tire screech; 
it is someone else who is on fire.
When we hear sirens, our hearts clench 
hoping we are not the one to disappear.

I asked the doctor if pills could help,
So I tried them, and waking up,
all my old anxieties were replaced by new ones.

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