“Emergency Chills” by Mary I Huang

Like dispensing water from the hot spout and then the cold
I would have liked it better luke warm and left alone.

Back to that "natural" state, much like the apes.
"Healthy" when not too heavy and not too thin.
Not too extreme, in the normal range again.
Wanting to be special, to be amongst the top tier
An existential fear reassured by the insurance that
Uniqueness, and thus you, will carry on as a published legacy.

Commercials of packaged food
Followed by commercials of pretty people.
"Be like me, but don't eat these"
That look I get up and down - I try so hard to not do it myself
Competitors against our own kin
- self-will against self-will

Our resilience to survive, and find that perfect life...
Human desires abused, tainted, left unabated
Natural instincts as far removed as our feet from the ground
A rubber covering for safety—you never know what you might get
A disease! An epidemic! 9-1-1! Help!
Emergency protocols well advanced beyond our years
Prevention and preservation less clear.

Plan B better than watching what you eat
An artificial pace we have come to understand
Amongst the face-less messages of artificial tastes.
A constant beckoning back into the fold
Okayed silently by our longing for true community.

A desire to have something save us: Jesus
To help save someone else: service
to make a difference in someone else's life: a relationship
You fill in the blank and click OK: a goal.
Useful rhetoric to distract us from taking responsibility
for the life force within our own cells.

Losing the instinct of how, tell me what I should do now.
Instructions, please, for common sense
Modern answers emerging towards a conclusion...

What else is there but a breath in, a breath out--
culminating in a cease to our consciousness of this.
A cold understanding of the beauty of our own diversity

No one's yet to figure out how to change the automatic setting of the AC,
I prefer white noise over the sullen freeze
So I pull the heater in closer to my core and lay down to sleep--
A mini-death I take for granted daily.
Naked, with him, with no more blankets to ease
Chills of a lukewarm dream.