I am writing now as a means of survival.
I am writing to save the life of a very quiet person
in a very noisy room.
Wherever I go, I become entangled in the people around me.
I will try not to romanticize this. Each day I fall for someone
new. I become caught up in the profile of a man smoking a cigarette
outside a convenience store; I find myself entranced with the firm thighs
of my science partner, snug in black tights, aimed towards me.
I can’t help but be captured by melting brown eyes and downy lashes,
smooth mellow voices, the brief brush of contact from a stranger’s arm
as they exit the bus, the slim outline of a man’s leg in grey athletic pants.
Erotic undertones tug at me all day. They’re not the same as,
yet are inextricable from, the warmth I feel for the people around me.
My lungs ache with empathy for them; I become transfixed.
I don’t talk. My desire to connect is trumped only
by my inability to reach out.
I don’t understand my peers. The empty talk of
backpacking through Europe eludes me. Discussing money discomfits me.
Small talk is too challenging; weather is cloudy, school is overwhelming,
our professor is insightful. I peter out.
I am lost, adrift in the ocean,
or a jungle. I could be eaten alive.
I am often trying not to cry.
The jungle is not made up of the bodies around me.
We are all trying to connect to each other,
fine-tuning the signal-to-noise ratio.
I am lost, adrift in my thoughts.
I am afraid I will be eaten alive.