Anxiety Poetry

My Body’s Tempo by Sher Ting

I didn’t mean to interrupt you my mouth moves to its own body and my body
moves to its own poly-rhythm my teacher at school tells me to move andante
but we both know the day will rise like a chromatic scale in allegro and they call me
to my seat but my thoughts are a thousand light-years away suspended on a coda
spiraling the threads of a perpetuum mobile, a single song in an infinite-loop motif
playing a parabolic cycle, and I would’ve asked you to play Mahler’s Symphony No. 2
for the twentieth time that day because he cavorts from movement to movement
over hours but everyone applauds his form and you tell me I’m like Vexations, blurting
840 phrases in rapid succession, like it’s an impediment and maybe it is but I’m not a
broken VCR player because I’m not broken and Vexations is an ironic act of defiance but
there is no irony in my defiance I defy nothing except the tension of existence
they tell me I should slow down but no one tells the world to catch up to me they tell me
they wish my feet would stop moving but these hands are making music,
and one day, maybe, I’ll be making symphonies on the world stage
and I’ll strike the perfect cadence in a 5-to-1
and the world will finally clap for me

Sher Ting has lived in Singapore for 19 years before spending the next 5 years in medical school in Australia. She has work published/forthcoming in Trouvaille Review, Eunoia Review, Opia Mag and Door Is A Jar, among others. She is currently an editor of a creative arts-sharing space, known as INLY Arts. She tweets at @sherttt and writes at