The psychologists have been told to survey my psyche.
They’re trying to see if my mind is a mountain range
full of jagged precipices or a desert, bare boned and dry.
They begin topographically, looking at the contours of my landscape,
the existing features, the surface of my earth.
They need to scale its territory to see if it’s flat like the
soles of my shoe or round like a helium balloon straining to escape
behind the clouds. They’ve been ordered to map out the places unknown.
They want to know if the visible network of roads leads to the eye of
the storm, is there still a buildable base there?
There is a place they will never be able to access.
At night, the sweat hangs around my forehead, a crown of pearls,
my eyes are wide shut and filled with sand and I become your princess again.
I meet you there at the surf’s edge. We chase crabs on the beach and you
teach me about the stars. The only bottles in sight are the ones filled
with messages we launch into the ocean.
In the morning, I taste the salt on my cheeks and they’ll think it’s from tears.
They’ll never be able to reach the outer banks of that place.
I don’t want it to go into their draft.
Certain terrains are required to be left alone.
A call to the trail, away from the trajectory of a therapist’s chair.
An awakening. Slivers of sunlight peek into an unfinished dream.
A call to the living, “Step outside!”
A crash to the bottom now requires a slow crawl back to the top,
a task set at hand, to get moving, start walking.
A call to the wild.
To wander within it with hopes of wandering away from
an invisible illness that’s screaming to escape.
Standing alone above the horizon, patchwork hills roll
into mismatched greens opening my heart to change.
An invitation from the wind, a call to post-illness instead
of post-traumatic, a welcome to post-despair from a friendly sky.
It embraces me like a plush pullover its sunbeams fall
upon my cheeks like golden fingers and dry away my tears.
A march towards a path reaching out to me through generations,
worn down by those seeking penance.
Contrition. Walking into the woods, up through the hills
around the mountains, above the lakes, through the sleepy villages
in hopes of shedding this second skin of singular sadness.
Not a choice, but a scar.
As I pass the lake’s edge I imagine I’m the water
supporting the sailboats, the burden placed upon my back and
the buoyancy of those troubles forced up again and again, like the force
keeping the boats afloat, normalcy slipping between my fingertips.
Yet, here I am amid the trees, marching upon the path to recovery,
learning to let go, to just be in that moment in time,
embracing forgiveness between the rustle of the leaves and the march of my feet.
( TAK Erzinger is an American/Swiss poet and artist. She is also an English teacher who earned a BA in English from Boston University and her English teaching certification from the University of Cambridge. Her poems have been published in various anthologies. Her first poetry collection entitled Water Songs was published by The Origami Poetry Project (USA). Her poems and other writings have been featured by Harness Magazine, Mojave He[art] Review, Hello Switzerland and Wombyin to name a few. At the end of 2016 she suffered a nervous break-down and was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), ever since then nature, writing and art have been accompanying her through the recovery process. Last summer, as part of this process she began walking through Switzerland on the St. Jacob’s Way. She lives in a valley between the Swiss Alps with her husband and two cats.)
The Beautiful Space-