“But you can’t die from a panic attack”

by Brenna Elmore

Artwork by Alexa Gaffaney


It started two years ago,

Suffocating in the shadow—

Breathing through ruptured lungs,

Chest collapsing under a thousand tons.

Fear. Fear. Irrational fear.

Never ceases. Crumbles into pieces.

Fear, fear, irrational fear—

“I’m here, I’m here, I can help my dear…”

No. No.

You see the shaking,

The gagging,

The weeping,

But you don’t feel it.

You tell me to conceal it.

“This too shall pass,”

But I call bullshit.

Covers choke me,

Take my breath away.

Was once carefree,

Now happiness is all just hearsay.

My name becomes anxiety,

I will never know sobriety.

Hugging becomes a squeeze,

An inoperable terminal disease.

Society tells me to move on,

That it’s a temporary phenomenon.

They give me pills pills and more pills—

One to make the pain disappear,

One that’s illegal to sell in this hemisphere.

One that kills me,

One that ends me,

One that takes it all away.

One day.

It started two years ago,

I drowned in the shadow—

Wheezed through mangled lungs,

Heart riddled by five blazing guns.

Till death do us part, I’m here for the ride

In a seeping puddle of formaldehyde.

It’s too late now—wedding bells amplified,

Panic is my groom, and I his bride.

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