Poetry by Michaela Snider
By Michaela Snider
I Wish I Could Breathe Like the Earth
I wish I could breathe like the Earth,
Inhaling the summer days as the ice recedes
Upwards towards the poles where coldness lives everyday.
I wish I could find the same rhythm,
Exhaling the winter as the temperature drops
As frigid air stretches its hands towards the equator.
The seasons bring a new breath and a rejuvenated sense of living
As each month propels our planet’s respiration.
If only I could mimic the technique Mother Earth offers us.
Each cycle is slow and steady:
There is no hurry– just a natural rhythm of ins and outs.
Instead I take in sharp gulps of air
And let them sink my diaphragm.
There is no concept of steadiness
As I hold it in and tense my body.
l want to release the discomfort within me,
But, unlike the Earth, the cold washes over me
And I cannot unfreeze.
I long to breathe like our planet–
Maybe I will release myself from this point of tension
And hurdle through space and time
When You Have Nothing Ahead of You
Life goes on without you.
It’s a sad revelation when it comes.
Those that were locked in the forefront of your sight
Begin legacies behind your back.
It feels like a knife stabbing square in the middle of your neck
And slicing down each rung of your spine
As you realize you just weren’t that important anyways.
That importance you sense is easily matched by others;
Even if you pour your heart and soul into every move you make,
Tailor your intentions to the common good,
Cater your life’s philosophy to the world you created,
There is always someone else with that same fire.
It is ready to ignite when your flame loses the oxygen it needs,
Gasping for air in a forced vacuum that urges to you to go away
Despite being filled with enough kerosene to last a lifetime.
When I realized this was true, it felt as if
The ground below me fell right through,
And I was hurtling through the void below.
One day, I’m the most important person in the room;
I’m treated like royalty because I have earned my crown.
I didn’t realize that crown was a plastic one,
And everyone who bothered to go out and buy one had it, too.
The next day, I didn’t even have the right to enter that same room,
And it knocked over every foundation on which I built my life,
Like a storm razing over a town -
It was devastating.
It is that feeling of belonging that I miss most.
I treat everyone’s attention like spotlights,
And I desire to have each and every ray pointed at me.
It is a narcissistic issue,
Thinking that I matter more than anyone else,
Thinking that I am more capable,
Thinking I am more than just a cog in a wheel
That can easily be tossed when it becomes rusty.
Life moves on without me,
The carriage careens forward
Even when I am not prepared
To be left in the dust.
I don’t think normal people
Want to know how many calories
Are in their daily vitamin,
But I do.
I’m not a normal person.
Normal people don’t stand in their kitchen
Gazing at the cabinets because
They’ve just stared at their ceiling
For three hours and seeing
The white plaster makes their eyes hurt,
And the grain lines running
Back and forth on the chestnut wood
are a nice change of pace.
They don’t let the amount of times
That one person looked at them
Decide how their day went.
As a matter of a fact,
Their day is only defined
By their own actions.
What a concept!
I am not normal.
I count the calories in my vitamins
And in my toothpaste
And in my tap water
Because she only looked at me once today
And maybe she would look at me twice
If I made sure the number
Of calories I consumed was more precise.
I never focused on the superficial
But I do not trust myself to make
A fair judgement on just how much
I am worth, so I look to others
Who do not know where I’ve been
And let them tell me
How much I should hate myself that day.
It has been my one constant issue in life.
I always jump from person to person,
Holding the opinions of those I love at the time
In higher esteem than my own thoughts.
I am always convinced I am lying
When I tell myself I am great,
When I tell myself I am pretty,
When I tell myself I am doing just fine.
But - God - what if one day I am doing just fine?
The sky in London is often shrouded in gray,
But no one there can deny the fact that
Its blueness is on full display in the Caribbean.
Londoners may argue that the sky
Is but a hindrance to their happy countenance,
But it is not a universal truth.
Even when I repeat those words
Over and over to myself,
They do not add up.
I am a computer that will not save
The data I store within myself -
It is not compatible.
One day I will find the right software
That lets me save those compliments
Into my brain’s hard drive.
Until that day comes,
I will continue to stare at my cabinets
And count every calorie,
Because it is easier to cope than to change.
Michaela Snider is poet from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She currently studies English and Adolescent/Young Adult Education at Muskingum University in New Concord, OH. Michaela was published in Duquesne University’s :Lexicon literary magazine in Fall 2017. In addition, her poem was published in Hooligan Magazine’s Issue #23, released in July 2018. Through all of the difficulties in her life, poetry has been her right-hand man; she hopes she can offer the same to readers.