Panic rising, fear unfurling, voices screaming,
My thoughts besiege me, assault from every side,
I cannot escape.
Like the flat of a blade scorched by a blaze
And thrust against my skin,
The merciless attack sears my senses
From within.
Be still, says a voice.
I force my limbs to move, to leave the confines of doors—
The cacophony follows.
Outside the air is free, but my mind is shackled
To the banshee wail inside my skull.
My heart is pounding, the frenzy surging,
I can’t shut out the noise—
My feet start moving, I’m running, sprinting,
I can’t outrun the noise—
I collapse to the mud, knees to my chest,
The barrage growing stronger, suffocating,
Until I cannot hear, cannot think, cannot breathe
I can do nothing.
Be still, says the voice again.
I rake in a shuttering breath and squeeze shut my eyes,
Waiting for the din to recede,
And when the clamor begins to dissolve into the wind,
A salve spreads over my soul—
I am still.