The Long Way Down

by Abigail Chang

I was stagnant for so long
that everything quit blooming, and
I could no longer get a sunburn or a credit card.
Through the eye-hole, I spied on
all these dark theaters
with slimy popcorn and plasticked wallpaper, not       caring
that every film was almost over,         that the credits
were already spinning by.
And all the nights I missed,
the outings and parties and funny people I skipped out on
so I could sit on a straw mat, and feel bad, and be bad at crocheting pea-sized hats.
I am trying to dive back into living. I am.
But all my friends are on the wrong side of the world
in their stupid little cities where the Chipotle chicken is stupidly overpriced,
where the salt fogs through
the entire rice wrap.
When one friend got a daith piercing, and double snakebites, and a lopsided, golden Medusa
another had scarlet shot through her hair
            somehow they both got back on their meds
            and returned to being happy, functioning people.
I remember passing by an old church and saying,
            this is a great breeding ground for an international drug ring
I remember flexing the cold webbing
my fingers. Picking at my callused toes. As if I were looking for expansion.
For someone I hadn’t met yet. I was asking all these questions.
To the earth and my friends
and myself.
And life had very little candor, nothing was funny. I let my hands droop down/       I let myself
            bring the napkin home. Nurse it like an ugly dog. I had not lain in the mineral field yet
and I would not for another three years.
When I finally did, it would have no valleys,
just a lot of salad.       Dripping, tangy crab salad. And I would get me through this.