I’ve just written a post on mental health. It’s a touchy subject and I’m saddened by the fact that at least two of the younger people in my extended family have self-harmed and attempted suicide. I’m saddened too about the number of young males in my local area who have taken their own lives this year. This, then, is a poem I wrote when my cousin first went down this path…
In such a sanitary world
I should be wiped from the face of the Earth.
I’ve caused little but trouble since birth
and I tire of the slaps on the wrist;
perhaps it would be better for all
if I simply ceased to exist.
This isn’t a new train of thought
(this engine has seen its fair share of use)
but it’s a busier line than I remembered.
I look around at the other passengers
– so many of us
– so many, so young
when I see a familiar face among the fray.
To gaze upon her soft skin
and eager eyes
hurts more than any blade.
I numb my pain with alcohol;
she number her with drugs
until her liver failed.
Doctors spent days
bringing her back
but she’ll never be the same.
she will forever be known now
for her darkness;
nothing will be innocent or easy again.
An invisible tattoo
labels her as a suicide risk.
It has become an unshakable
part of her history,
its shadow cast over her future.
In my darkest days
a black hole dwelled in the pit of my stomach.
It would drain me,
destroy me –
an emotional void that caused physical pain.
I would plan my demise.
Occasionally I would make my death bed,
set up what I needed,
but I could never follow through.
She has taken the first step,
I hope she never takes another.