Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

I Bring the Iron Close and Finally Hear Her Voice; 9:14; When I Was Younger I Wanted A House by the Water // If Someone Ever Asks Me What You’re Like
I Bring the Iron Close and Finally Hear Her Voice


She reminds me of all those times

mom said forty-five minutes in a mirror

is too long to think about 

anyone’s opinion. 


She shows me where 

my ponytail used to sit.

Where she lost a part of herself

every day to knots. 


She tells me if I would have just

used the oil, instead of blonde-labeled 

spray, maybe I would feel better

about having her around. 


She tells me why she’s afraid

to come back to to certain spots. 

Because there she feels the pain 

over and over. 


And one night, she breaks

out of my bun during sleep,

just to show me all those 

times I made love, 


afraid his hands would get stuck,

the curls, tangles, and coils on top 

only wanted to reach down

And say “I love you too”



I sat there
between two ponds.
the sound of the birds disturbed
the silence
of the glass before me,
but no matter how acutely
I listened to the present,
I drifted
further from the reflected billows,
and into the clotted waters of your image.
I visit your pond so often now.
it dampens my face
while the Swan across the way
finds me unaware of what
I need,
or feel.
and I push my mind to fabricate what isn't there,
and the Swan turns and tells me I should leave,
and I stand up from the dock and walk away,
from my thoughts at nine fourteen.

When I Was Younger I Wanted A House by the Water // If Someone Ever Asks Me What You’re Like


I look out and see what couldn’t have an end

and am reminded there are bigger things than a thought. 


I take the wooden path down to the beach, 

and though I misstep, 

pain isn’t there when I fall. 

The sand takes my arm 

and tells me the past isn’t mine, 

and the grains hold on to remind me,

until my morning shower. 

The waves and I warm up

to each other and they reach

above my head. Underneath, 

I say I’ve hurt you 

but I’m surrounded,

and the words never find my ears.  

I return to the surface 

in the water’s arms

and let the sun leave its face

behind my eyes.

I let go.


The tide brings me back to the shore and promises rest,

I take my first deep breath in days.

00:00 / 00:51
00:00 / 00:42
00:00 / 01:04

Tori Darnell is a musician from Michigan who recently relocated to the Chicago area. Tori began writing as a means to explore her experience with mental illness, and it is a relatively new endeavor. Prior to this publication, her poems have also appeared in Gravitas Poetry.

"My writing is always seeking to narrate some aspect of my experience with obsessive compulsive disorder. OCD manifests in many different ways for those who experience it. For me, the compulsions tend to be thought rituals - memories or scenes that I have to replay in my head for reasons that are sometimes too hard to articulate. Writing them down in this medium helps redirect the energy that usually pushes me to stay trapped in a loop. It also helps me see the ritual for what it is - a ritual, as when these scenes come up, they feel very much like a part of real life."