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Naomi Matlow


“Whack-A-Mole Brain” An OCD Poem

Every freckle on my skin tells a story,
and not just about the time I forgot to wear sunscreen.
The latest freckle,
three finger widths from the inside of my left elbow is a sad one.
It’s a different story than what the freckle directly under my right shoulder blade tells. That one is from the outdoor folk festival last July.
On that day my brain wasn’t loud enough to interrupt the music.

This latest blemish is from the rooftop barbecue yesterday where I was under water (in a figurative sense, it was surprisingly scorching hot).
Yesterday I had nothing to contribute to the conversation.
My presence didn’t feel enough.
Taking up space and simply smiling like I always used to do wouldn’t cut it.
That’s the thing about experiences— once you’ve pushed the limit to what you think you’re capable of time and time again, you can rarely sit back and be satisfied.
Like Ariel the mermaid, my brain was singing, “I want more.”

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