by Erin Gardosh
Whenever I make love,
I think about you watching-
Wincing and shuttering
As your little girl gives herself away.
I think about your bones-
Still and cold.
I wonder how much flesh has since decayed,
And if I would recognize you.
I think about you thinking about
What you could have done differently.
I think about
What I could have done differently.
I think about that night months ago,
When you came to me and said,
“You made good choices.”
I think about that everyday.
I wear your clothes.
Your scent no longer lingers.
I think about the man
I would have died to save.
Art by Elizabeth Kaiser
Some people say that depression is like sadness
that never goes away
As though my only symptoms are a frown
and an attitude
As though being sad for a day can etch bloody scars into blank slates
I used to be beautiful
But depression hangs on to me
like a parasitic steam bath
Opening my pores to weave its way deeper
Some people say taking a deep breath
makes it easier to handle
As though my lungs aren’t filled halfway up with dread
Let me drown in it
This time being half full doesn’t make me optimistic
Some people say, “get over it”
As though the bottle of pills under my pillow
doesn’t call to me every night
As though I don’t wear a cloak of fragility that screams
Fingernails are the first to go. Hair stays coiffed,
shirts remain tucked
and eyes unbagged—
in the beginning, at least.
But my fingernails are the first to go.
Bitten and picked at, soon the floor is covered in tiny shards of white armor.
The skin curls back
like when the wind catches the pages of books I have no will to read
and my fingertips glow an ugly, irritated red.
Please, don’t look at my hands for too long.
You’ll see and you’ll know
and I don’t want anyone to know
not even you—
And trust me, the unprotected flesh screams at me,
just like it whispers to you.
Your echo is not unwelcome,
but forgive me for getting frustrated with broken records—
Even when the tune is one I need to hear over and over again.
Are you scared of the dark? Of the
way it seems so still? Of the sunspots
that sparkle for just five seconds, for the first
five seconds of darkness? Of the second
Of the way the dark
starts moving, shifting, when you stare
into it for too long? Of the heaviness
it rolls onto you? Of the emptiness
it carves in you? Of the
static it hums inside
your ears? Of the static it
starts inside your head?
Of the anonymity
it makes of you? Am I
scared enough to turn
the lights back on, will
the lights ever turn back on?