“and then repeat” – Poem, 2018

Poetry, Fall 2018

Sarah Knight

I.

count (on your fingers) to 8

1         

            2                     

                        3

                                    4

                                                5         

                                                            6                     

                                                                        7                                                                                                                                                                      8

and then repeat

don’t stop until you’re sure

II.

at 14 years old

the doctor told me I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD

google search: do I have obsessive compulsive disorder

google search: why do I have obsessive compulsive disorder

google search: is there a cure for obsessive compulsive disorder

google search: what are intrusive thoughts

google search: how to stop intrusive thoughts

google search: is there something wrong with me

google search: am I a freak

google search: why do I feel so

helpless

III.

“your sleeves are uneven”

“so what?”

it’s wrong

“can you fix it please?”

“why?”

it’s so wrong

“please”

“does it bother you?”

it’s like a centipede crawling around my ear canal driving me mad disturbing my thoughts it won’t leave me alone it won’t get out get out get out get out get out get out get out please get out   of my head

“a little”

they laugh but don’t fix it

the centipede crawls in through one ear

but never comes out

the other

IV.

from my place on his couch

I can very clearly see the heavy dark door

in front of me

            but it’s really

                        down the hall

                        around the corner

                        past the kitchen

                        out of view

            but I see it

he makes a joke

I laugh

did he lock the door?

“do you want to play Uno?”

I smile

I didn’t see him lock it

he shuffles the cards

someone will come in

we start to play

someone could come kill us

I bounce my leg

I start to sweat

I have to go lock it I have to keep us

safe

he wins

I smile

did he lock the door?

from my place on his couch

I can see the door

but I can’t see if we’re

safe

V.

“oh my god I’m like so OCD about that”

“I’m such a germaphobe, I probably have OCD”

“we’re all a little OCD sometimes”

“OCD isn’t real, it’s all in your head”

“do you have OCD or something?”

What OCD is not:

– trendy

– a quirky personality trait

– a joke

– fun

– self-diagnosable

– easy to live with

– one specific symptom in everyone

– something you can turn on and off at will

What OCD is:

– a mental health disorder

– unwanted thoughts and actions

– knowing it’s irrational

– but not being able to stop

– a never ending battle

– but I’m the only one fighting

– a liar

– a part of me

VI.

his roommate opens the door

                        it wasn’t locked

                        it wasn’t locked

                        it wasn’t locked

                        it wasn’t locked

                        it wasn’t locked

                        it wasn’t locked

                        it wasn’t locked

                        it wasn’t locked

                                    it wasn’t

safe

(safe safe safe safe safe safe safe)

VII.

can’t stop here

just one more until the

VIII.

end

count (on your fingers) to 8

1…….

.2……

..3…..

…4….

….5…

…..6..

……7.

…….8

this is my

            reality

and then [I] repeat

but I’m never sure

when

I

can

stop.

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