Michelle Obama and I Self-Medicate

Anxiety has clawed a red highway up my esophagus, and for this Michelle suggests chamomile. She knows where these red routes can lead. My palms feel hotter than the inside of my mouth. There are no handles or surfaces to relieve us. I want to drop this comfort, but Michelle is telling me about how He doesn’t close his eyes anymore when they make love, how no one closes their eyes around her anymore, so I ask her if she’d like me to close my eyes. My hands are rocking the cup between blistering fingers and she says yes, so I do. I feel or I imagine The First Lady’s fingers everywhere, or perhaps it is her breath. The decade it takes for the oil spill in my sink to neutralize, the generations of flowers beheaded for blooming out of season, the moons and moons of steadfast self-starvation are a few of the things flaming my gullet. Michelle tells me she can’t remember the last time she touched someone who didn’t need to make sure she was there. Do you want to leave? I ask. I want you to drink your tea, she tells me, feeling the way my body hums like a coffee bean. I lift the chamomile to my mouth and taste without seeing. My tongue becomes a burning house. I know what I am feeling is her chest rising and falling against my back. She smells how I expect a ripe cotton field must.