Panic Attack

I wake up and seek my keys
I try and pack
I’m looking for a bag for my toothbrush
I need my keys
I’m staring at a dead leaf on the floor
when I should be moving to pack
I grab books
I look for another book to read when I finish
the ones I’ve read
I have no time
but I browse the bookshelf
leaf pages and read back covers of books I’ve already read
then I look for my keys again
I take the garbage out
because I’ve forgotten to before now
but I walk to the laundry room by mistake
then I go back upstairs and look for my keys
I have no time
but I look in the mirror and try and fix my hair
I look in the mirror and see a gaunt face
I look in the mirror and say
you’re fucking this all up
then I brush my teeth again
Then I try and fix my hair
then I look for my keys
then I stare at dead leaves on the carpet
and realize I’ve missed my shuttle
because I haven’t grabbed my keys yet
or picked a book
or brushed my teeth
and I know this is all very bad
but it would all be better
if I could remember to grab a sweater
because it’s cold where I’m going
and I’m going there the second I find my cell phone
and use it to find my keys
and I call a cab
as I feel a bubbling within me
as safeguards are blown apart by something insidious
not to be put together again anytime soon
as I find my keys
and would outside and down the stairs
and forget my keys in the door
and go back and get them
and go outside without a sweater
and see the cab pull up and feel bullets enter my resolve
and it’s all over
as panic attack finally begins
the crescendo we’ve been building to
and the face of the cabby trying to get me to get into the cab
is like that of a rescuer reaching out to a drowning man
but I can’t out to him
I can’t grab his hand
I can’t open the cab door
and take his cab to the airport
because I can’t pay him
because I forgot my wallet
while I was looking for my keys
and thinking about everything going wrong
and the dead leaves on the carpet.

I wave him off
sit down on the bus bench in front of my building
and stop moving
and let it hit me
let my hands clench
and my fingers shake and then go numb
let me mind throw its tantrum
and have my world oscillate between fury and misery and incapacitation
and think that all of this could have been prevented
if I could have just remembered my wallet
or my keys.

A plane takes off without me
an empty seat
that receives no drink service.

Before that, the airport intercom would have been calling my name
looking for me
looking for me to take me away.

I sit on a bus stop bench
and I look too.

“Brady Tighe?”
“We’re leaving without you.”


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