Explaining Anxiety to a Stoic by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

My troubles began
when I first learned about water,
was it third or fourth grade
when the teacher said two atoms
of hydrogen and one of oxygen
make the molecule,
that billions of them
make a single drop,
which made me unwell
picturing a frantic god
sewing together these elements
hastily to make many drops,
not yet knowing that an ocean
could not be a shape,
nor a waterfall,
nor the small cascade
of an opened spout,
not yet knowing which stitch
would be the one to transform
the mold into a liquid,
and though I do love
a pattern bursting into a wetness
in a god’s good hands
spilling between lithe fingers,
I worry about the errors
left in each design,
like how I hand you
a glass of water
after you drive three hours
to my home,
watching your sips with a sickness,
hoping that this offering
is not a beta version,
that the elements don’t
break apart against your teeth,
that the invisible thread
between them
does not come undone,
turn tangible,
tangle in your mouth,
blocking your throat
Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad was born and raised in New York. Her poetry has appeared in The Missing Slate, Passages North, HEArt Journal Online, Pinch Journal, and is forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly. She is the poetry editor for Noble / Gas Qtrly, and a Best of the Net, Pushchart Prize, and Best New Poets nominee. She currently lives in New York where she practices matrimonial law.