She is used to feeling this:
Happiness is a faster heartbeat, picking up speed
To match the rhythm of her anxiety–
Acceptance at this irony:
That is what it means to be happy.
She thinks she has it all figured out,
All she has to do is match the rhythm
Of her feet to her heart,
And keep herself far apart–
No need for her heart to take any more beatings.
She’s heard (how absurd)
That joy and pain
Have two different wavelengths,
That you can experience one
Without slogging through the other,
That this is not how it’s supposed to feel.
Panic is not a given,
And hope is not forlorn.
And when a heartbeat dies,
The next one’s born.
There’s so much to burn
From what you learned before.
Set your priorities straight, sweetheart,
And the world will start
Pain and hope,
And struggle and rote–
When she begins to see how different
These things can be,
Maybe she will be able to experience them
But for now,
She’s stuck in the rhythm she taught herself,
Frail and faint,
But hard as hell.
She knows if she slows,
There are those she can match,
Two hearts beating — who knows if it’ll last,
But if it feels like it might be happiness,
Is something she’s not used to feeling.