I am only smiling at you
because my cheeks are locked
in this habit of baring my teeth,
and it would take more energy
than I possess to drop the wall
that’s holding me together.
Behind the smile I am an absence:
Not darkness, just an absence of light.
Darkness can be fought;
Absence doesn’t even exist.
Trying to find the edges
is a dull and desperate terror.
Don’t come here and tell me
“what works for you when you’re feeling blue” –
that pressure is crushing, paralyzing, deadly.
Each little word of encouragement
is a condemnation and a sentence,
mocking me with “just keep trying.”