Pulling Strings

She can feel
each string-tug,
threads plucked
and worn
thin from time.

She chooses to ignore
– not wanting to experience –
that pain again.

The pressure suffocates;
its own version of CPR pushes
on her chest,
works in reverse, forces
the air from her lungs, emotions from her heart,
thoughts from her mind, disquieting.

At some point, she will be
able to listen
to the melody,
the lyrics,
the song entirely
without flinching, blinking
or crying.

At some point, the strings will
stop tugging,
stop twisting
in two

– and she will be able to breathe.