Depression /dɪˈprɛʃ n/
like (adj.) 1. therapist number one says it is like living thirteen years in a downpour. I say it is like a drizzle that just keeps coming, like the sun will never find its way back on my skin again. 2. mom says she’s never seen me like this before. dad says it is like I am walking with someone else’s feet. my friends say they don’t know what this is about, how it feels to not be at home in my own skin, but it is like a new person is sitting at their lunch table. 3. I don’t like the way my heart beats so loud, don’t like how I can hear it thwick-thwick through my teeth and in my toes and through my tongue, soft beat beat of broken heart. whisper wonder if anyone will like me or if I’ll count flower pedals, one two, staring at skies and hoping for the promise of rain, wash me away, wash me away. 4. it looks like rain every night and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to see the moon again because it is so massive but feels so small in that big empty sky. it feels like tomorrow, the hazy in-between of late nights and very early mornings, but I am not quite sure where I fit in, how to build myself up out of paper and ink, what is left in my veins more opened than sewn shut.
be (verb.) 1. I wonder what it is to be, what validity beating hearts and shaky hands have on red- rimmed eyes and two shots of gas-station vodka. my lover tells me I can be anything if I breathe- in breathe-out catch my breath steady my hands open my palms and count. she says I will be something great if only I fight if only I stay if only if only if only. she tells me I will be okay they all say that you will be okay maybe not today but keep breathing, you will be. 2. I was a real girl before all this happened, I promise, I was made of flesh and blood and bone but now just plastic and glass and broken things. it was something better, probably, something warm like heat lightning in the middle of august but remember that september still comes with its falling leaves coming to take away the sun coming to bring the rain coming to drench me again. there was a sun on the horizon waiting I know, waiting to rise and coat the world in gold and warmth. 3. I am my mother’s daughter after all, we know the same sorrow. we are like broken chains of cheap necklaces, barely clasping, not coming together. my lover still counts my scars and I say I am whole now I am clean and I am lying to her lying through my goddamn teeth but she listens with her soft warm heart beat beat in my ear remind me of what is real, lover, remind me who I am.
but (conj.) 1. therapist number three says I am doing better but she cannot see the marks on my arms like little cat claws little pin scratches she does not know the landscape of my tangled head my shattered heart pieced back together like broken mirrors. girlfriend number four says I am a diamond but does not know the fires in my heart burn me like cigarettes still scared of matches but I’ve made my peace with it. left arm scar number 210 still mocks me but I think I like seeing it in t-shirts in tank tops in the sun like defiance like dreams I’ll never get to achieve but will always hope for. 2. there is no hope but for the dawn that comes so stubbornly over the mountains always lighting up the trees and branches of the blue ridge and I could spend my life here opening my arms for the dawn extending my soul to reach it. there are no listening ears but those that have listened for six long years and have seen my blood boiling for the surface heading for the hills and I am broken like beer bottles, amber on the highway. 3. there is but hope lingering in my heart, stubborn hope like stubborn love, refusing to end, keep me warm and safe even as the rains come even as it hails even as the clouds roll over the fractured mountains.
Rachael Walker is a student at Hollins University. Her hobbies include struggling through French movies without subtitles, reading the same five books over and over again, and petting dogs whenever and wherever she can. She speaks French, Spanish, and about five words in Irish Gaelic.