These Splayed Nerves

are like rat nails
running across your face in the night,
like scared beetles scratching
the drums of your gut-ears,
like the split red tongues of an acre of snakes
rising straight up
to look you in the eye.
These splayed nerves are like the bloodshot veins
of leaves shaking and halfway eaten
by a worm
that will never be a butterfly.
These splayed nerves take everything
in its time,
all this life and half life,
all this anxiety like wet silk
burning in the colon.
The teachers try to calm,
they teach people not to think too much
or to worry
but if the teachers don’t have splayed nerves
that jump like grubby corn
under the skin of their soul,
then the teachers don’t know.
The splayed nerves don’t want
to heal themselves
or to agree
on what has been agreed upon,
what can’t be understood,
they want to fly apart
each in a new direction.
They want to love up to the moment
of the fracturing,
but no further.


Mather Schneider
Mather Schneider is a cab driver in Tucson who has had work published in the small press since 1996.