Poetry Rivals 2016

Taking poetry from the page to the stage!

Don’t Panic

He says,
Why don’t you just breathe?
My eyes are swampy
My palms cannot contain the ocean held within my clenched fists
My skin shivers
I say nothing.
He tells me,
An auto-immune illness is not really a disease at all
A sickness with no symptoms
There are no external pathogens
No knives or pills or alcohol
The body sees itself as an enemy
Waking up at 3am to a stuttering heartbeat
Your cells are simply trying to kill themselves
She says,
What’s it like?
A panic attack?
I say,
Think screaming in a swimming pool
Think drowning in an elevator
Think wading through words marooned like soldiers on a sand dry
tongue
Think breathe
Think breathe
Think are you okay
Think I’m fine
Think I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine
Think I can’t breathe
Think a hand on my back
Think hurricane whispers
Think aborted stares
Think breathe
Think I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry
Think bipolar chest compressions
Think heart attack neurones
Think breathe
Think breathe
Overthink
Underthink
Think breathe
Think breathe
Think breathe
Think can someone tell my body I’m no longer suicidal?
Because I think the message got stuck on the way to my lungs
Think breathe
Think breathe
Think
Think
Think nothing
He says,
Why don’t you just breathe?
I say,
Breathing is not like riding a bike
Sometimes we forget how.

Molly Barnes (15)