Self-Care Is a Psy-Op

a meme 

I am taking my iPhone to see my therapist. 
& I’m all like See see see see listen look there was a goose 
born without webbed feet I saw on Instagram & Farmer Gene
fitted Andy (that’s the goose’s name!!) with baby-sized Nikes
so Andy could walk but someone killed him anyway. The goose!
Clipped at his throat; wings severed & missing. In 1991.  
Never caught who did it. I’ve been drunk about it all day.
& my therapist wants to learn more about me & I tell her
what the FBI already downloaded: In 1991, I was born 
under a cloud of red, stolen feathers. 

I’ve been meaning to tell you that I’m taking myself 
seriously for once. I’ve learned so much since I paid 
my internet bill. I quit hissing. Jasmine tea miraculously 
appears in my mug where there once was rum. & now, I can
laugh, entertaining Eric with my strong strategy for the future
dystopia, in which I escape to the Minnesota lakes to harvest
milk from the last of the nation’s orphaned goats. 

You & my therapist say I spend too much time online, stupefied,
with the curtains drawn & my hand down the front, clicking myself.
But you don’t understand. The metaphor being I am the goose &
I’m contemporary to some degree. God knows who in this country is
Farmer Andy. But my sense of humor is the webbed feet & the Nikes
are my Blackness & my mellow but I’m killed anyway. You say turn It off,
but It’s where everyone contemporary is having contemporary arguments
no one started. Individuality is a phenomenon for which none of our social
structures adequately prepared us. I am always a better version away from
myself. & I can realize nothing else. 

Copyright © 2023 by Jameka Williams. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 2, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.