There is a Drive

There is a Drive

By Isabella Kaufman

in me that cannot be extinguished.

It burns the bed out from under me,

forces my feet onto the hard ground below.

It revs its engine at knowledge,

craves the taste of old paperbacks, shoves them

into my mouth and down my throat so quick I don’t

see it coming. Their ink stains my stomach with

words I’ve never seen before. I cough

them up, one-by-one until I’ve made a mess on the carpet,

and when I wake in the morning I have poems at

my feet. They chip away at my skull in the dark

and spill out onto my pillow. I wonder if my roommate will

read them before I sweep them up with the vacuum,

along with all the crumbs and hair

and dirt brought in by wandering feet—

feet that are strangers to these poems I am gathering

off the floor and tucking under the comforter,

despite knowing that they will find their way

back out. There is a drive

in me that forces these words out of my mouth, off of

my fingertips and onto this screen. This screen

that was once blank, now filled with life,

or residual life, or something. I swear to God if I

could not write, this drive would eat me alive.