by Betsy Housten
In the lobby, a box of wine and a Mason jar to pour it in, for
when nothing else will do. Once fortified, proceed to the room
bathed in blue light. Solace will find you here, slide its palm
underneath your sad busted heart, but not self-pity, nor denial.
The room is full of small comforts: soft blankets to hide in
and consider your next move, an oak apothecary chest stocked
with herbal infusions to calm the burdened mind. You will see
notebooks and easels, a pottery wheel, a sewing machine.
Tools to help you create and keep your hands busy, provide
temporary respite from the way the world's pressing in on you.
And there's a person, someone you know but not well, standing
quietly in a corner until the pencil breaks or the needle jams
or you still can't stop crying; their job is to offer an unsolicited
kindness, compliment your hair or give you a Tupperware
of homemade lasagna, at the moment you decide to give up.
Then will appear a mirror on the farthest wall. Walk toward it.
Watch how your chest rises and falls. Behold your reflection,
your one untidy body. You're breathing in it. It's yours.
Betsy Housten is a Pushcart-nominated queer writer and massage therapist, and the winner of an Academy of American Poets award. Her work appears or is forthcoming in formercactus, Cold Creek Review, Bone & Ink Press, Vagabond City, Burning House Press, Memoir Mixtapes, Longleaf Review, and Glassworks Magazine. She lives in New Orleans, where she is pursuing her MFA in poetry.