Nicole Connolly lives and works in Orange County, CA, which she promises is mostly unlike what you see on TV. She received her MFA from Bowling Green State University, and her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in such journals as Assaracus, Pretty Owl Poetry, Flyway, and Big Lucks. She currently serves as Managing Editor for the poetry-centric Black Napkin Press.

Also by Nicole Connolly: Three Poems Irish-American Feminism

Nicole Connolly

Dx: Comorbid

I bedrest myself with browned ear plugs & read memoirs & empty chocolate papers cast like so many bland lures. A cashier extends his hand & hand & hand. If your hand is a transaction, does my finger to your finger count as counting? What can be kept by keeping a pink half-can of pepper spray? Keeping a cardigan shouldered with spikes? Keeping a keep I take different paths to return to & return to, fogging the woods with my scent so it’s senseless to follow? With your reverse-Midas hands, all my gold is sucked out. With your nuclear hands, I, too irradiate. The sidewalk we walk is a yellow brick road with all the gold sucked out. With your nuclear eyes, my deeper & deeper keyholes glow. I, too, am uranium pulsing against lead walls. The sidewalks, too, are labyrinth, are web, are mole-dug tunnels pulsing with ants & the ants are your desires & the ants are my desires & the ants are archetype: desire & the ants only need their mandibles to tear all the roots we collected away.

"Dx: Comorbid" is part of a series of poems I wrote shortly after being diagnosed (dx'd). This piece came from obsessing over narrativizing my (largely chaotic and self-destructive) romantic and sexual history through the lens of confirming I had bipolar disorder and C-PTSD. For a while, I did not trust myself or other people — and especially not my desire to be intimate with other people. Having these conditions simultaneously is (of course) a pain in the ass, but I do not think I'd have survived one without the other. C-PTSD keeps me aware of the ways other humans will hurt me; bipolar disorder makes me love them anyway. This poem ends with a blank slate I didn't want, but got. I'm pleased to report to the version of myself who wrote this that I've done a pretty good job with it.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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