Rhys Lee is a Masters candidate at Mount Saint Mary’s University. He has poetry published in The Driftwood at Point Loma Nazarene University.


Trigger Warning

In the silences of the morning,
before anyone else awakens,
before your mind’s terrifying screams
can find a voice,
you sip your coffee – black – hoping that
that mug’s abyss could somehow fill
the abyss in your soul, the one
that keeps you awake, even now – the sheer
anxiety that twists your stomach into knots
larger than UY Scuti, the heat of which
tinges your cheeks with the biting cold
breeze of the predawn autumn weather –

you pray, even though you don’t fully believe
that God is out there, and if He is,
you don’t fully believe He’s kind, but
you pray,
asking, wishing, begging
that what you’re feeling isn’t true, that
what you’re feeling is just anxiety:
your mind playing tricks on you – but
that creeping feeling of a hunch won’t leave;
that darkest predawn gloom before the sun
burns the horizon where your nightmares,
whispering omens into your ear, are consumed
until the next night, and you listen quietly,
sipping your coffee – black –
the bitterness fueling your own bitterness,
your soft sadness blooming with the red
dawn and the beginning notes of birdsong,

and you sigh, quietly, contentedly.

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