Tomorrow I have to find a therapist for my nine year old daughter.

Isa looks just like me. She’s funny and sarcastic and impatient and gifted like me. And she’s totally obsessive-compulsive like me. 

So far I’ve been able to help her somewhat with what I’ve learned in therapy and…life. But it’s affecting her quality of life now. She has phobias, and I didn’t realize how bad they were until we went hiking and our half mile trail turned into a half mile meltdown over gnats.

I think COVID has made her more anxious, too. It adds that extra layer of worry. 

I knew this was coming, especially since puberty is right around the corner. But I’m still secretly a little bit of a wreck over it. 

Logically I know there’s nothing wrong with therapy and medication. I’ve used them on and off most of my life. But not everyone knows that. My parents didn’t, and they waited until I was having a major breakdown to take me to the shrink. 

Emotionally I feel like it’s my fault she has it in the first place, and if I’d taught her to cope better she wouldn’t need help. And I worry the meds will flatten her or she’ll have side effects. Or they’ll stop working and she’ll crash. Or we’ll find the wrong therapist who will push exposure therapy too soon and scare her off therapy entirely. Or we’ll try the wrong med and something horrible will happen.

All the shit that’s happened to me since I embarked on being a patient when I was 15 or so. I worry all that will happen to her. 

I’m trying to convince myself that at least since I know the pitfalls, I can help prevent it from going that way. But you know…those recurring obtrusive thoughts. Like vultures picking at a body. 

Yeah, that was maybe a little morbid. 

I’ll be okay about this later. There are positives to having OCD. I have a list in a book somewhere. 

I’ll be okay later but first I had to have a good cry, write about it, and let go of the idea that I can “fix” her on my own. That she even needs fixed, or that I do. 

It’s not that I think my life is crap, or anything. It’s just that it was so hard to get to a place where I’m relatively healthy and happy. Knowing if I’m not careful I can backslide. 

And feeling so fucking flawed when I do backslide. Do I think my daughter is, too? Hell no. I wouldn’t change a thing about her.

Her experience doesn’t have to be mine. I need to remember that.

The Pusher

Lying together after lackluster sex,
two hedonists using each other
for cheap and fleeting thrills,
we smoke cigarettes you stole
from the gas station counter
after charming the cashier
with your lightless smile
and counterfeit warmth.

Cancerous clouds curl
along the too-close walls,
blur what little gray light
struggles through the window
as you talk about
some future I cringe from
even envisioning

for this so-called relationship
on what amounts
to drunken mistakes
and my inability to say no
to your sweet sweet drugs:

I don’t think I can have
a serious relationship with you
unless you
can open
your heart
to Christ.

Didn’t We Fly

didn’t we fly
that chill autumn day
escaped from apple picking
to smoke secret cigarettes in the woods
on a rough dirt road to nowhere

when a half dozen boys
came on rumbling bikes
asked if we wanted
to go for a ride

we should have known better
and run for our lives
but we grinned at each other
and got on behind

and didn’t we fly

didn’t we fly
with the wind in our hair
and the sky whirling by
trailing shrieking laughter

my cheek pressed against
his warm farm boy back
arms holding tight
like I was in love
maybe just for that moment I was

didn’t we fly

didn’t we fly
that chill autumn day
now I’m older and wiser
and you’ve gone away
but I will always remember you
and that perfectly dangerous
beautiful day

didn’t we fly?



For Dawn Davis