My therapist’s hands are alarmingly winsome and bewitching: white like chicken fat with the visual properties of glass, fragile bird bones. But I cannot touch you just as I cannot touch a crime scene: DNA, blood, breath.
I am knifed weekly with your eyes and it is okay.
We all know how complicated love is, let alone attraction.
He is the only man I know who never judges or inflicts or slings shit at my mind. Men judge, thinking they can save us and our intrauterine hearts. They cannot.
My normal has always been the deep and bulbous ether: dark as an eardrum or bright as a showroom. I mostly feel awkward and unfit for consumption by my fellow humans like a badly manufactured piggy bank or an obsessively flawed peephole. I observe from afar and mostly prefer this.
I once loved a man who burned me with hot matches. I had scars. They disappeared off of my skin when I finally wanted him to completely seep out of me. But I liked the pain he brought me between his flaccid apologies: leaving me pomegranates on the hood of my car while I was at work. I was a Librarian then.
It was a thousand pounds of malarky. I dismissed him like the child he was, leaving him to return to his creepy and desolate rural cabin and his job at Rent-a-Center. Rats at home and cockroaches at work. He told me one of his coworkers fucked women on those couches they rented out, suffocating God knows what.
When the pistol was revealed
like the pasties of a dancer,
I blew you away like the slow dust
of my cooling and wide heart.
Dust settling on a piggy bank
saving dimes for a beach weekend
as far from you as I could get.
And then, that older man
who approached me after I read in a Benton Harbor bar
where three people attended but I didn’t even give a fuck.
This man gave me a train ticket and a big room.
He made me taste him and I did
because of you.
All the while convincing myself
that I had you begging,
but I only had you yelling.
Words were suddenly my enemy
and I died a little.
Bad men pussy-whipped
as he whipped me into Indiana
and into a pickup for a final moment of disaster. 
I stayed up for days writing The Chase. A lot of poems already written. I slept with them. Under my menstruating mattress.
I tell my therapist about my sadness and there is a lot of that these days. Residents in my mind. My shaman was just cremated while my parents lose their house to the bank, my cousin is evicted, and my cat is slipping away from me.
That shaman saved me and after a session something guided me into West Main cemetery in Kalamazoo and I sat in front of a grave for hours: MADES. A handsome man with gingered hair came up to me: I’m sorry.
My shaman’s memorial is next Saturday.
I asked a doctor about fear. The doctor said, “The only way to overcome fear is to do what you are trained to do. Fear is overcome by procedure.”
I asked a pilot about fear. The pilot said, “The only way to overcome fear is to do what you are trained to do. Fear is overcome by procedure.” 
I met Mary Ruefle when she was a visiting professor at Ohio University. I thought anything was possible in that senior year of undergraduate. I always read Bataille and smoked a Nat Sherman before bed. I wanted to be aristocratic but I was living in a basement, working, smoking, and sleeping next to a hot water heater.
And when I met Mary, I loved her instantly when she went into the men’s room to pee because she thought it ridiculous (and it was) to go to another level for the women’s room. Three young college guys ran out of the restroom and I was delighted. I was delighted she didn’t say a word about it afterwards.
We went out and smoked and she told me she lived on the grounds of The Ridges. I used to go up there all the time, weekly, sometimes a few times a week.
The Ridges were the grounds that housed the Athens Lunatic Asylum from 1874 to 1993. I was roaming there a lot in 1998 and 1999. I broke in, amazed the locks were not at all lock-like. They certainly were from 1874 through 1993.
Down a hill (Southern Ohio rolls greenly) was a cemetery. Only numbers marked the inhabitants below. It was out of view of even the highest window so the patients could not see it. As if they never thought about death.
They were already living it and haunting the chairs. So many chairs.
I got into the poetry program for an MFA at Western Michigan University and Mary was headed there next. She said in that Jim Morrison-meets-Tom Waits voice, Carrie, we are psychically following one another.
And it blossomed from there. She rented a little white house on Hilbert Street. She kept all of her orange prescription bottles on the kitchen windowsill like overly medicated suncatchers. Little cups held her skinny Capri cigarettes and peppered the surfaces all over the house.
We talked about poetry, dying, bad men. I took Dilaudid—just one heart-shaped pill per month. Turns out it helps all manner of pain.
After she left, we still ran into one another. Once, in Pittsburgh Airport and I rarely fly. I remember crying in the airport bathroom and then I saw her and I was cushioned and blanketed like an infant—happy and new.
And we wrote to one another ... handmade, collaged postcards. Hers always had a message.
My favorite: Usually the radiant is a small area.
I sent her my handmade chapbook. She loved The Chase. She asked what I was chasing and I said I was being chased. She replied, By pain?
I must clean my house,
make it as clever as I can.
There is a warehouse in my feet
and its windows ache at the end of the day.
A topaz ring from the dead,
as important as stoney love,
as toes, a 3-pronged dream,
meat on the doorstep for the white witch
of the crossroads. 
My therapist checks on me between our weekly appointments. He texts and emails and I wish it was paper I could smell and make translucent with water. I hate this electric life. I don’t even know what his handwriting looks like and it has been four years this November.
My heart immensely stops and reboots.
I met him after the hospital stay. I almost succeeded that time. My friend lost my “suicide keys.” But she came to visit and brought me marigolds. She died two years ago. Her choice. She succeeded.
Now the blossom is sucked clean. 
 McGath, Carrie. The Chase: Poems, 2008.
 Ruefle, Mary. Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures. New York: Wave Books, 2012.
 McGath, Carrie. The Chase: Poems, 2008.
 Frame, Janet. The Pocket Mirror: Poems. New York: George Braziller, 1967.
Carrie McGath is the author of Small Murders (New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2006) as well as several handmade chapbooks. Carrie is listed on VIDA’s ‘anti-list’ of Under-Acknowledged Women Writers where author, Monica Drake writes: “… McGath reimagines a world that opens to grand possibility while simultaneously remaining painfully claustrophobic, and therefore married to a new kind of truth.”
Current projects include a chapbook of poems called, Dollface, where poem-songs between artists Unica Zürn and Hans Bellmer are imagined conversations and thoughts existing in their passionate and tumultuous relationship. She is also at work on her second full-length collection of poems tentatively titled, The Luck of Anhedonia.
Carrie is an arts contributor to Chicagoist and Brut Force and is embarking on her doctoral studies in the Program for Writers in poetry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She lives and works in Chicago.