Maureen Thorson




I mistook a runner’s high

for a panic attack. I just can’t tell:


am I hungover, or is this a panic attack?

Have I got the flu, or is this a panic attack?


Is this unease and dread as the metro

rumbles slowly through its cement casing,


throwing sparks and coughing,

the beginning of the end,


or is it just me, isolate

in my panic attack? In the park,


a dog with a tail upturned and curved

like a teacup’s handle ranges alertly


beyond his master’s stride

but with a sensible self-control.


Meanwhile I’m trying to tire

the ponies that startle and shy


all day long on my racecourse mind.

No dice, it seems. Some new filly


is always being brought from the stable,

all unbridled, unfocused energy.


Terror-eyed, she flexes her ankles.

She hurtles herself from the gate.





Maureen Thorson is the author of two books of poetry, My Resignation (Shearsman 2014) and Applies to Oranges (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011). Her most recent chapbook is The Woman, The Mirror, The Eye (Bloof Books 2015). She is working on a series of poems about despair, and a group of essays about eyeballs, truth, and power. Visit her at

maureen thorson