Live Wire

Amanda Starks
2 min readJul 21, 2023


Photo by Chris Rhoads on Unsplash

It waits inside your chest

humming with electricity at all hours,

and like the sizzling of a live wire

it threatens to spark, and burn.

When it ignites, your nerves go haywire

they force your muscles to contract and flop about

twitching like frogs in a bubbling pot.

Your insides become a game of ping pong

where every shot is a hit, and every sound is an alarm bell;

you’ll rack up points in the thousands

except there won’t be any prizes.

The relays connecting through your arms and thighs

send confusing signals in a code your body can’t identify:

stay run rest freak out calm down.

Your vocal cords fray and sputter out from the overload.

Your lungs exhale embers like shotgun shells

in out in out in out

painting the walls of your shelter with bullet holes

alerting any and all who trespass

that there is something unstable there.

Your world tilts and spins on a needlepoint

shooting you out of the Goldilocks zone and into a black hole

a void where no source of power or light

could ever penetrate.

“Breathe”, it’s so simple:

don’t think about it

don’t worry about it

put your head between your knees and pray about it;

hope that you have a spare pair of cutters nearby

to put that live wire out.

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Amanda Starks

Amanda Starks is a mental health advocate & creative writer who loves diving into poetry and fantasy fiction. You can find her at