"Are You Worried About a Breakdown?"

Ace Boggess


                      - roadside billboard

I have bad spots like bruises in an apple’s meat.
Maybe the whole tree’s rotten to its roots.
Tensions build. Anxiety thrums
its tuning fork inside me.
Then comes Stress, Strain, &
Worry. I tell myself: I won’t
get my news from Facebook, I won’t
get my news from talking chimps,
but I have this banana handy.

What if I snap? It’s not like I’m Rambo
taking out some Vietcong squad.

Last week, I started this exercise routine
to calm me, help me
control my blood pressure, weight,
hope for the future. Today,
I’m suing myself for intentional
infliction of emotional distress.

There’s too much human
in being human, & not enough
being. All I want. I’m that guy
who thinks the Serenity Prayer’s too long.


Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.