The Woman Who Can’t Leave The House

—————I know you———-hate
it when I’m late…——just one
—–more glance and————–now my shoes look brown.

—–And does this little dress  make me look fat?

———-Now everything looks wrong.
—————Lips too glossy, cheeks too red.
———-My teeth seem yellow now.
—–I just won’t smile…
———-But…
—————my palms will go clammy…. If
—–I try to talk….my voice will crack.
—–…I have to leave, right now,
———-but
———————what if no one
—–talks to me?——————————What if someone talks
—————–to me?

———————————I’ll blush.
————————And the shame
————————when I begin to sweat and tremble. My chest…..
————————My heart…..
—————–I cannot breathe.
—————————-People gather…
—————————————————–A flock
———–of crows, they caw—“Okay? Are you okay?”

—————————-….They think I’m ill,
—————–call 911… paramedics
—————–rushing in….—————————–my heart
———————————just pounds, a thousand
————————thrashing
———————————doves…———–desperate
—————————————————flutter to get free ….


Naomi Cohn is a writer, therapist and teaching artist who works with older adults and people with vision loss. Red Dragonfly Press published a chapbook of her poems on insects, Between Nectar & Eternity, in 2013. Her writing has also appeared in About Place, Fourth River, Water~Stone and Fish Stories, among other places. She is the author of a handbook on organizing around urban watersheds and is the former editor of Disclosure, a national publication on community organizing. She is currently working on a collection of essays about the experience of learning to read braille as an adult.
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