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my therapist says make friends with your monsters - a poem by José Olivarez


we are gathered in truce to discuss our differences, my therapist seated between us.

my roadrunner legs point past the door in case. we are gathered in truth,

because my therapist said it was time to stop running, & i pay my therapist too much

to be wrong, so i am here. in case my therapist is right. my monsters, coyotes in the

chase, look almost human in the sterile office light. my monsters say they just

want to be friends. i remember when we first met, me & my monsters. i remember the moment

i birthed each one. each time i tried to shed a piece of myself, it grew into a monster. take this

one with the collar of belly fat around its neck, the monster called Chubby, Husky, Big Boy.

i climbed out of that skin as fast as i could, only to see some spirit give it legs. i ran & it never stopped

chasing me. each new humiliation coming to life & following after me. after me, a long procession of sad

monsters. each monster hungry to drag me back, to return me to the dirt i came from. ashes

to ashes, fat boy to fat. i point my feet to the nearest exit, all my fire alarms go off.

my monsters crowd around me, i stare into a no-fun house of mirrors showing me all the angles i try

to forget. my therapist says i can’t make the monsters disappear no matter how much i pay her.

all she can do is bring them into the room, so i can get to know them, so i can learn

their names, so i can see clearly their toothless mouths, their empty hands, their pleading eyes.

Read more from José Olivarez via Twitter

*originally published in The Rumpus for National Poetry Month

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