Tabatha Wharton


{musings of an aging millennial trope}


As read at LadyFest Dayton 2018 with the Dayton Poetry Slam

  photo courtesy of Ernie Muller

photo courtesy of Ernie Muller

there is a madwoman living in the space in my chest
where my heart sometimes resides
she cradles my lower ventricles like an oversized carnival prize
squeezing a little too tightly from excitement
for finally having something to hold

when inevitably my heart falls flat and matted from overuse
she stands and screams at the top of her blackened lungs
pulling her long raven hair by the ends into
a desperate sort of sorrow-halo around her gaping, sullen mouth

she strikes fire into my ribcage causing
electric currents to reverberate around the emptied encased space
my lungs pausing to note their tightened expansion
leaving my fingertips and toes tingling with
the remnants of regret.  

I do not let her out.
I do not let her ascend my spinal column to the windows of my eyes to see this world
or to have her be seen in it
make no space for her at the base of my brain to take up new residence

I gently guide her back to my lower depths
remind her she can vacation in my stomach from time to time as long as
she doesn’t wreck the place


given the chance
through the gateway of spite and unchecked rage
she would expand
hijacking my entire being
leaving only brimstone destruction in her wake 

a possession
of perfectly average proportion
no one would suspect a thing


I swallow her whole
let her ruminate upon
her existence and the damage she
has caused before
let her inky blackness swirl around
the hollows in my bones and where
an organ or two used to be
and tell her to hush, now
and let the rhythm of my sinews sliding around their sockets
soothe her back to complacency.