Isaac Pressnell

Non-Striving and Neuropathic Sensation: A Practice

Your toddler suddenly fears mourning doves, 
not the startle of abrupt flight but simply 
their coo-oo coo coo caught in the spring fog. 
Midnight, she awoke from another pigeon nightmare, 
and you hold her in her bed until her breath 
eases, deepens, a breeze on your tired face 
like the desert air when you’d unzip your tent 
to pee and time would hang still in the numinous light, 
silence. You wonder how many backcountry trips 
you have left as your B cells continue their attack 
on your nerves and brain. You are afraid. Of losing 
the ability to work and provide for her, of all that might  
hurt her. You come back to her rhythmic snore, let it keep time 
at bay, focus on the tingling in your legs that came with the last 
relapse, allow it to be another kind of wind on your skin, 
this magic feeling born from nothing, tethering you to this 
moment, her pulse against your throat, the way her face hangs 
in sleep when she’s left to wander unafraid in the nascent 
cities taking shape in her mind. To be in this as long 
as you can, until a rustle in the branches, some kind of flight.  

Isaac Pressnell's poems have appeared in Best American Experimental Writing, Hotel Amerika, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, Southern Indiana Review, and many other publications. He lives with his wife and daughter in Georgetown, TX where he works for the Texas Workforce Commission.