February is National Haiku Writing Month! This haibun (a poetry form combining prose and haiku) inspired me to assemble apparitions, a painstaking and revelatory process that took more than five years. I'm sharing "Anxiety" now in the spirit of choosing movement despite discomfort, and leaning into change when sameness can feel deceptively safe:
I wake up in the middle of the night and wonder if my life could go on without you. I imagine that you die, because those of us who live with anxiety are encouraged to imagine the disasters we obsess over not obsessing over. I visualize announcing your death to our friends and family on Facebook, requesting not to be private messaged about it, and being frustrated when everyone private messages me anyway. I visualize deleting my Facebook account…and the radio silence that follows. Meanwhile, you lie sleeping next to me, very much alive. I place my hand on your chest and feel your heartbeat. I cherish this heartbeat, but feeling it in my hand makes me uncomfortable.
my overuse of white-out
"Anxiety," copyright 2023 Amelia Cotter (Third Place, 2016 Haiku Society of America Best Unpublished Haibun Awards and Frogpond 39.3, 2016)