The Cure for What Ails you

by CAMERON AWKWARD-RICH

 

 

is a good run, at least according to my mother,

which has seemed, all my life, like cruelty —

 

when I had a fever, for example, or a heart,

shipwrecked & taking on the flood. But now,

 

of course, this is what I tell my friend whose eye

has been twitching since last Tuesday, what I

 

tell my student who can’t seem to focus

her arguments, who believes, still,

 

that it’s possible to save the world

in 10-12 pages, double-spaced & without irony

 

I’m asking Have you tried going for a run?

You know, to clear your head? this mother-voice

 

drowning out what I once thought

to be my own. I’ll admit that when that man

 

became the president, before terrified I felt

relief — finally, here was the bald face

 

of the country & now everyone had to look

at it. Everyone had to see what my loves

 

for their lives, could not unsee. Cruelty

after all is made of distance —

 

sign here & the world ends

somewhere else. The world. The literal

 

world. I hold my face close to the blue

light of the screen until my head aches.

 

Until I’m sick & like a child I just want

someone to touch me with cool hands

 

& say yes, you’re right, something is wrong

stay here in bed until the pain stops & Oh

 

mother, remember the night

when, convinced that you were dying,

 

you raced to the hospital clutching

your heart & by the time you arrived

 

you were fine. You were sharp

as a blade. Five miles in & I can’t stop

 

thinking about that video. There’s a man

with his arms raised

 

in surrender. He was driving

his car. His own car & they’re charging him

 

bellowing like bulls I didn’t shoot you, motherfucker,

you should feel lucky for that. Yes. Ok.

 

Fine. My body too can be drawn

like any weapon.