she tells me to imagine a place of peace

she tells me to imagine a place of peace

alyssa hanna

i can’t think of anywhere the wind won’t reach me.
all i can see is a river, babbling brook, winding through the forest
of the summer camp i went to as a child; she tells
me to close my eyes— look around,
ground yourself, try this next time you wake from
another violent vision. she says another because we both know
that they will never stop coming. an
orchid grows and dies.
in the stream i feel the stones beneath my thumbs, the smoothness enough
to make me run river myself, raining morning and
night, listen to the sounds, what do you hear? can you engage with your
surroundings? can you take
a step forward?
gorge and canyon and valley. the rays of the sun sift through
the trees but never reach the bottommost places. and at the mountain peak i am
still buried beneath the bodies
of landscapes, the night terrors crawling edges along my spine, my knees,
the feeling that in this peace i am going to
die— what i want to tell her is that
the place i am calmest is still just a panic attack; that
in this place of peace, i am only reminded that i have never
even had a place i have allowed peace to find me.

alyssa hanna

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