to the end of an era

1L year

a sweltering september in black suits, black turtlenecks
c-ptsd, anxiety, depression, and not the greatest attitude
a shell of a human sitting in chairs among strangers
teeth and nails digging into tender skin
i am nobody, empty, empty, empty
feeling nothing, learning nothing, hearing nothing
trying to be nothing
please let me dissolve
sat at seven am on samhain
and tore my way through the gre
like it was the only fire escape 
but if i was on fire i would let myself
burn down like the shirtwaist factory
my exit could never be so facile 
my flight was never meant 
to be so simple
and when i tried to go
when i started to leave
i didn't go up in flames
i slowly trickled underwater
my body surrendered to life's flood
but the fullness of time became 
a saving grace, mahakali 
i needed all ten of her arms

2L year

i finally found a floor beneath my feet
something stable enough to jump from
it was summer when i went to court
ex parte, co petition, ad nauseam 
perfect paperwork filled out in family law
my brindle baby appeared at my feet
she filled my empty achy heart but
could never threaten my dark demons

i jumped on a plane at first opportunity
wool coats and socks and canadian cannabis
giggled with generous grandmothers in quebecois
in a seemingly adjacent universe, sat in sukhasana, i
giggled with sathita, glistening, a day dream
she says to me, we don't ask, how are you? 
we ask, have you eaten? and what a nightmare, 
i think, for the girl whose answer always was no

and what had started so slowly was over in
just a cough or two, all of us exiled to
zoom through the semester stuck
in our own separate containments
there was nowhere to go, nothing to do
i couldn't run from myself anymore
wasn't sure where i might end up when
i fell into the strongest embrace

3L year

i bid adieu to more than a few 
friends i thought might have been family 
and family who were never truly friends
maybe my lives before were different but here i am anyway 
just me again, my littles and my books and my solitude
the sacred seems to repel the scared, i observe
even one letter of difference is intolerable to narcissus 
as he gazes drunkenly into his hazy mirror
and it's up and down and back again as i fight
to be more than an insurance to bill
in a preteen prescription protest 
i feel always inconvenient
but emergence from my zombie state
merits all my virulent vexation
chakrasana emerging like a rainbow, my
crown conclusively caught in the clouds
and then there's another piece of paper with
my name on it, expanded with each receipt and 
i never got to hug my friends at graduation
or have a last day at law school lunch but
instead i wrote letters and instead i lit up
each day wanting less, learning more
instead i sat for eight minutes whenever i could
inhale, I am, exhale, love. inhale, they are, exhale, love.

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