I wrote this poem just as I was escaping grad school in New England and returning home to try to figure out how to rebuild my life. It’s based on a long-running metaphor I’ve had for my personality in terms of demonic possession. The thing is, my angry, chaotic-evil side is still part of me, and a part I’m quite attached to, even when it hurts me.

April 2015 in College Park, Maryland

Yes, doctor, I already knew about that:
that there’s dragon coiled in my stomach.
He rests his head on my heart when he’s content.

        “Quiet down, everything will be fine.”

No, I’d rather leave him in there:
I asked you to heal me, not to cut out
my little reserve of hidden strength.

        “Please, let me handle this.”

I don’t think you understand; maybe you can’t?
Have you ever been small and scared among a sea of troubles?
Sometimes it’s worth it to breathe borrowed fire,
        even if it scorches your throat.