The breaking

I was 13 the day I broke my mother’s favorite vase

and she said

Isn’t it good that things make noise when they break

so that we know to move out of the way

as if shattering was a warning

rather than an end

So much of my life has been the putting back together

the hardware store glue

the coworker 7 years later who still sees the cracks

the way I am 13 again every time someone asks if I’m ok

I open my mouth and shards come out

or I am the shards

I have spent years trapped inside this throat

and now cannot find my way back into my body

I am the flowers crumpled into the carpet

how my mother never quite got the stains out

you wouldn’t have guessed

there was so much color just waiting

to live outside its body

But of course there was never a shattered vase

there was a bottle of pills, a pair of scissors & a lonely room

what I’m trying to say is

did anyone hear my breaking before I hit the ground

was there ever a warning?

but also this is not about the self-destructive tendencies of a girl

it is about the sound that is still vibrating off of these walls

the poems that are always the same

(the shattering is a warning rather than an end)

there are days when I stay in bed

buy ice cream at the deli on my block

watch two seasons of The Office in one day

& do not know if this is selfcare

or mental illness holding me hostage

My friend says “just get up & do the things you need to do”

and suddenly all the days I have done this

mean nothing and the days I have not are failure

I think about the walk to the subway

the people pushing up against me

the men who always stare too long

the professor who calls on me when my hand is not raised

the customer who yells about the wrong coffee

the way the smallest pieces of glass can still leave you

needing stitches

the way I still keep all my flowers in plastic pots

the way I am still so scared

of the breaking

So my good bitch depression is back

& I’m sitting on the library floor drinking a nasty spinach smoothie

like this will save me

like if I can clean my insides out with some $6 health drink

maybe it will reach the parts of me I’ve been digging dirt out of since I was 13

& the truth is I didn’t even ask for spinach in my smoothie

but now I’ve got it

maybe the smoothie lady is trying to tell me to stop being so self destructive

& I know the truth is she’s messed up like 5 orders before mine but sometimes

it’s nice to believe in signs

or omens

or things happen for a reason

it’s nice to think someone wants me to get better

library floor spinach smoothie

at least I am still functional

only a little late to class

only partially hiding in the bookshelves

I mean the place my depression chose to sit is half empty of books

& I can see everyone but at least they are not looking at me

I mean the places my depression chooses to sit are always in plain sight

but no one ever looks

or once I told my mom I wanted to die and she told me to get ready for school

I think a lot about how maybe my depression isn’t bad enough

once my dad told me about a man who’s depression was way worse than mine

I have heard so many well intentioned words that all mean “stop complaining”

hey dad I don’t think most people who kill themselves actually spend all day in bed but I’ll dig a grave out of every crevice of my body if it will make you understand I have been breathing in dirt faster than I can spit it out

my mouth is a shovel & my brain – a mudslide

I mean I will keep talking about this until I drown in my own grave

or leaves bloom from my tongue

as long as I cannot forget

you cannot either

& if no one hears me at least I will have created a garden to the sound of “someday”

to the sound of “today I am still here”

sun on the horizon

laughing butterflies out of my stomach

if poetry is healing then let this be my prayer

let me spill enough pain into words that someone remembers what I say

for all the days we are depressed enough for people to notice

we are still alive

for all the days screams feel like whispers

I am writing this poem in the hopes of postponing my own burial

but anyways you should probably know

I always wanted to grow into a tree when I die &

they can do that now ya know

there are forests full of second chances


when I came back to prague last summer you were the first person I saw

& yeah I was fine

just crying cause I thought you couldn’t hold a place

couldn’t hug home

& here you were

we stopped talking a couple weeks ago

probably for reasons we could have figured out

but I don’t think you wanted to

telling someone you aren’t worth their time

only merits so much sympathy before agreement

& I still love you

like I said I would

& you didn’t do anything wrong

just the only thing you were taught how to

like me

I always pick the people with the most scars

have lost too many friends to a world that turns them hard

the softest fruit always bruises the easiest

so I understand

why you left

or why I had to

there have always only been two options

you are either the knife or the cut & sometimes there is no more blood to spare

so you turn cold

so I leave

so I keep having dreams where you swear you hate me and I kiss your tired eyes

so you swear you hate me and I don’t let go of your hand

it was never me you hated

it has always been the blood