Trigger Warning: Disordered Eating, Self-Harm, & Suicide

“Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.” -Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

in an attempt to heal
my inner child, i played
with the expensive, wood-
carved toys in the artisan store—-
trains, tractors, cars, horses, & even

my dear,
i still smile when i remember
that story of you & your sisters’
bad run-in with wild geese
when you were younger (i wish i knew you,
then)—-& how when there were
geese in the parking lot
after you finished your long shift
at the hospital, i promised
to hold your hand,
& you laughed

i miss holding your hand,
rubbing my thumb over yours—-
following you around that pond,
getting scratched by the pine limbs

i call you my dear
or even my old man
when you go to bed early;
you call me handsome

i hate that your grandmother’s
dying, & i know that if
everything wasn’t falling
to shit, we would have
made the sweetest of love

you told me not to compare you
to a father because i cannot
make everyone a parental figure,
& i do love him, my father
(i smile at how much
we have in common)

i’ve seen him cry twice:
when i was eight, &
i would try to suffocate
myself with my pillowcase
every night; & last january,
when i described my mood
swings—-how i’d go from
instense idealization of everything
to wanting to—-(& i made
a choking noise, running my
finger across my throat)

i’m on mood stabilizers,

i hate looking at my scars,
but, in a way, they’re kind of

i don’t punish myself
with food anymore, either—-
i eat three meals a day
& then some
(though, nevertheless, the
drop of water into an
empty stomach still tempts me)

it’s truly remarkable
not wanting to die

in the stillness of the rain,
i sit in the soft, solemn,
pleasant air, &
i let my thoughts come,
& i release them
with the first drop of rain

to heal my inner child,
i play in the forming puddles,
& i cry
until i laugh,
tiring myself
like a child
to be tucked in,
for bedtime