your body is a house and you are not always home

Hannah Iversen


when your leg shakes awake,
turn the light on.
you’ve sat while the sun set
and it’s dark now.

you want to eat and eat and eat
until you cannot move.
you aren’t moving.

you want to run your sewing machine
over your fingers again and again
until the blood clogs the machinery.

you’re still staring at the pedal,
willing your foot to press down.
you think of driving a car.
you push your fingernails into your palms.

you aren’t moving.

your eyes watch dust motes vaguely.
the book waits, open.

your leg starts shaking uncontrollably.



I've dissociated a lot over the years, but I think this is the first poem I've written about it. This specific period of dissociation lasted two hours and was triggered by the knowledge that my grandpa had three months to live. I actually wrote this about an hour into dissociating while staring at my sewing machine on my bedroom floor.

Hannah Iversen is an English major at a community college, with plans to become a high school English teacher. She is eighteen, and has been writing poetry for a little over five years now. Some of her favorite things are Discworld, Lucille Clifton’s poetry, and Earl Grey tea.