“The Moment Daphne Survived” and other poems by Maria Karapish

The Moment Daphne Survived

First, it was my legs that went shooting down
below the known world that knew me.
As they reached further and further
and continued to extend until I touched
upon something safe and nurturing and
secretive but liberating all at once, as my lower half
Was shielded from your hungry eyes.

Second, was the fear as I continued being engulfed
by not just my final resting place, but by a new vessel if
I was to continue living on in a way that could be considered living.
Without suffocation from your paralysing advances
Yet you still reached for me one final time and at that moment,
I couldn’t even scream, my mouth was the next to go.

Next, came the pain no longer anesthetized by shock,
accompanied by your own screams of anguish and perverse tragedy
at what was being made of my mortal self as I seeped into the soil.
Oh, my steadfast arms splintered away and upwards as I grew those
bare branches in turmoil.
The strain so searing became the numbness of absolutely nothing
As my transformation allowed me to assume the shape of a new self,

Here I am Apollo,
A newly formed loathsome laurel.
As now I would never again have my windows,
The light would someday be welcomed in other ways.
I left the world I knew in those moments, this new
sentience only took seconds to understand, unlike the painfully earnest
consternation you felt while watching your desire’s demise.

 

The Haze / I’m Learning

I drop my eyes like a stone
in a river.
The walls are closing in,
but this room has no doors.

I have found that everything
had changed but so slowly.
Living proof that you learn how
to go on.

Lessons learned in
infinite ways.
Over days into years
that blend
into one cacophonous Haze.

The Haze becomes a person,
an accumulation of sonic, infinite
song.
A melody composed of countless
contributions.

Some reverberate longer than others,
As if each vibration might
Bring closer a solution.
In this room,
I’m stuck in the moment,
repetition, repetition,
It’s been so long.

Dear God,
I hope that I’m learning
As it strikes my eardrums
Again and again.
Sound echoing
And eternally living on.

 

If I still had my Tail

I.

Licking my wound,
pink tongue flicking.
Don’t look me in the eyes,
I never know what you’re thinking.

Sudden noises scare many,
don’t look at it too closely.
When what’s left of my tail is
between my legs when voices are raised.

I don’t whine or growl or howl
at you anymore, because you don’t
understand me, let alone why I’m
still lamenting, this bitch is irritable.

 

II.

Ticks and fleas.

Ticks,
how I’m looking over my shoulder,
how I end up expecting the worst,
getting more afraid as I get older.

I don’t have the time or strength to explain
why I’m perpetually rearing to fight.
An expression of enmity and that
split second, glimmering teeth in jaws
that open wide to bite.

I go around in circles sometimes
Before I go to bed with those toxic
What if’s?’ flaring up like an assault
Of fireworks going off in my head.

My monotone vision,
of black and white.
A bad habit of mine that
removes all but one factor in
my life when I’m racking and reflecting;

It would be uncanny to see
another universe that birthed
and raised another me.
What would I be able for?
If I had no ticks or fleas,
if I still had my tail.

 

To Sonder While I wander

Parks are peculiar in dim light.
In the dark, where I wander,
Watching a row of low hanging amber stars.
To feel a sonder until I feel some sort of right.

Ships shooting along the cement,
filled with strangers.
Are they anxious? Had their hearts been broken?
Pondering what their last words really meant?

I have nowhere to be but here.
I can’t overstay my welcome when
The only one watching me is the moon and
I’m much too mere

to bother her up there in her ghostly glow.
The sky her home.
An ever-changing kaleidoscope
of clouds and stars and comets

Much too far away for me to care.
Like my worries lying abounded at home.
Crumpled up,
Stuffed in a drawer somewhere.

Not my first or last time in the park
on a dull December night–
among neon bulbs, shrubs and stone.
To feel a sonder on a bench in the dark.

 

Maria Karapish is an Irish-Ukranian poet and artist, her main project includes the In My Orbit zine that contains her original poetry and illustrations. Her poetry focuses on themes of mental illness and how that affects everyday life and relationships along with pieces that stew over those many ‘what if’s? that refuse to leave your brain.