She Stepped Lightly

She began developing panic attacks

a few years before

the official line was that they came after she was fired from a job she held for five years

but truly she didn’t know what brought them on

she only knew that her body began fighting an invisible enemy

and she felt helpless

like a military spouse

receiving dispatches from the front lines every so often

in the form of symptoms

she walked around

worried that something she did

something she’d see

would cause him harm

thousands of miles away

that an old man’s hopeless, lined face

might explode a land mine in her head.

She talked to noone.

She stepped lightly.


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