How to Go On
Sometimes, when defeat
sits in your chest
sinking you past concern,
you have to lie down in a field,
look up at the sky,
and ask the blades of grass, the little Earthlings
who have been there all night,
who have lived there all their lives,
who are the field you are becoming,
to slip their slender green
fingers into your mind,
and show you:
To go on? It’s easy:
you open your mouth,
you take in little sips of light.
Unable to do much of anything,
I ask for help and it doesn’t come.
It comes but I’m too blinded
by self-pity to recognize it:
the will to breathe: a breath the wind
blows into my lungs to keep me going.
It wasn’t that I was dying—
I was—but that the day seemed
hardly worth responding to, a lover
I couldn’t muster the will to meet in bed.
I knew this a deficiency in me,
but that only turned the static up.
Ricky Ray is a disabled poet, critic, essayist and the founding editor of Rascal. His books include Fealty (Diode Editions, 2019), Quiet, Grit, Glory (Broken Sleep Books, 2020), and The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself (Fly on the Wall Press, 2020). Visit rickyray.co and rascaljournal.com for more.