Call It Self Care

By Jessica Walsh
My therapist is forgetting maybe everything, surely me.
Today she forgets my daughter, then places her in college.
Gently I walk her back, watching her strain to know
what she knows. She gives me a handout she’s given me before
and I take it like it’s new. A year ago I came to pay someone
to pretend I am visible one hour a week. I wanted to be solid
in my body. I am tired, I said then, of pleasing and appeasing.
I am tired of smoothing. Now I sit on her small couch,
at times a stranger to her, at other times another client,
only occasionally myself. I keep coming and thank her every time.
When my benefits run out for the year, I come anyway
worried that others will leave her, that she needs me.
I tell her I am feeling better. I am not. It’s easy, 
my own absence. It’s familiar. What I came to cure, 
I instead perfect. Find your calling, she says.

About the author

J. Walsh is the author of two poetry collections and two chapbooks. Her work has appeared in RHINO, Tinderbox, Sundog Lit, Cotton Xenomorph, and more. She is a community college instructor in suburban Chicago and doesn't do much else these days.

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