Once the Conundrum is Dispelled

It comes like this sometimes.  In waves
of grief higher than my head.  I hold
my breath and hope it will not consume
me.  More often I hope it will.  Why
can’t the breaking be complete?
The pain is severe.  But what is enough?
My mind slips out for a dip.  Sliding
along salty-lash[ed] planks.  I dive
into sleep.  For comfort and coma.
Black.  Black.  Empty.
Are these the empathies I covet?
I swallow them like pills.  Gulping
and gasping.  And glad that ultimately
they will help me.  Embody gone.

Author Bio: A.J. Huffman has published seven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her eighth solo chapbook, Drippings from a Painted Mind, won the 2013 Two Wolves Chapbook Contest. She also has a full-length poetry collection scheduled for release in June 2015, titled, A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing). She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Artwork: Justin Schapker is an artist living in Cincinnati, Ohio.