When You Talk About Your Feelings

Sarah McBee

Say it better with a smirk,
at arm’s length, when the lights go down.
Tangled hair across your face,
you don’t need to smoke. You’re tough.

Maybe blame it on childhood—
Dad’s proud grin at your held-back tears?
Steel against mean-spirited monkey bars innuendo?
Well, smell this marker:

There’s a way to squeeze depression
through the length of your intestines
and pull a raging laugh out of your ass…
Just think for a minute about how your ass looks.

Then imagine you’re 50
and fondly reminiscing.
Yes, by some fluke—lack of
apocalypse? marriage to money?—

you’ve made middle age.
From your saggy graying perch,
say it straight to your younger face:
That boy won’t last the time it takes

your beard burn to heal. And if
you say love out loud,
it might just be gone.
So feel better with a smidge of Neosporin.

Call an ex-lover who’s patient enough
to eat through the crust
to the mythic pudding center.
Even better, scrape out the pudding yourself

and store it in plastic-wrapped cups
in the refrigerator.
If a friend drops in, you can open
one from the back and serve it chilled.

Sarah McBee was born in a log cabin in West Virginia that she helped her father build. She now lives in Massachusetts.