Emily Tuttle

The Cure for Anxiety is to Stop Worrying

I like to have everything
laid out in front of me,
closets empty, drawers open, clothes strewn
in mosaics, unfinished
race tracks, thoughts
jumping into
soft, argyle sweaters.

Mother is the opposite.
She hangs silk dresses
on thirty dollar hangers,
coaxes t-shirts into perfect squares
and lays them
in beautiful boxes,
clutching them close,
hidden so you
only see
what she wants you to.

She asks why I don’t do that,
keep everything folded neatly
inside myself,
and I tried, but the way the boxes
stare back make me nervous,
like I should burn them.

My left eye twitches
and there is a dull pain
in my back leg,
I follow the patterns it leaves through
volcano cracks of
my brain,

Hyper anxiety

cancer Cancercan
I wish I was made out of cellophane
because, you see,

I like having everything
laid out in front of me,
muscles flexing, not twitching, heart mimicking
metronomes, not my
shaking feet
watch the blood flow
without clotting

because I do not trust what lives
my own chest—
what may be lurking there
like the creatures
mother hides
her wooden boxes.


Emily Tuttle is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, where she was editor of two on campus journals and editorial assistant to Poet Lore for two years. She has been awarded the Jimenez-Porter Literary Prize for Poetry. Previously, she has been published in District Lit, Blotterature, The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, and Sigma Tau Delta's Rectangle, among others.