I will my soul to waken, and my soul does not wake.
My mind busies itself, remembering
forgotten songs from my adolescence.
My mind recalls anything, so as not to listen.
I will my hands to be calm, Lord,
and they fly to my teeth to crease my nails.
Lord, I will myself to be still so I can hear
the tiny voices in me, screaming look at me, look at me….
I will myself to be still so I can embrace the world
but there is too much of the world inside already.
Lord, I ask you to enter me and live here
but the clutter and noise evict you.
Lord, I am sick of myself.
I am not funny or entertaining or clever.
Lord, I will myself to cease.
I will myself to focus a breath apart, a breath
not held or stuttered but deepened.
I will myself to step aside. I will my soul to waken
and, though I do not wake, I am stirring.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.