She Asked Me How I Felt

In a little, sterile, white-walled hospital room.

I could feel the needle inside of my vein

Keeping me hydrated, alive.

The drowsiness of the overdose

Clouded my ability to make sense of the question.


And so, I wondered if she meant the IV in my arm.

“It hurts like a bitch,” I reported, exhausted,

Then turning red for having cussed while speaking to my mom.

She asked, “Your heart?”

“Well yeah that too.”

And I had to explain how death seemed better

Than suffering through a long life.


“They never should’ve prescribed you those pills.”

So, I had to explain that I’m not addicted to the drugs.

“No, Mom, I’m addicted to the idea of the little white pill

Delivering me from this Hell of a life.”

But she still couldn’t understand.


So, I told her about the days when I’d look in the mirror

Before going to class, disgusted by what looked back at me.

How the only way to escape my stress and self-hatred was through sleep

And how I wasn’t getting much of that anymore;

Insomnia wreaked havoc on my nighttime brain,

Forcing me awake to discover myself all alone in my dorm room

In a college thousands of miles from home and family.

I wanted to sleep forever. She cried when I said this.


“Why didn’t I see the signs?” she asked, as if she were talking to God.

I told her they were there, littered around the house

In footsteps heard from my feet pacing the floorboards during summers at home,

To long sleeve shirts in the summertime that covered self-inflicted scars.

The dark-lens sunglasses that covered my tired eyes

Were not a fashion statement but a facade to hide the destruction

That was already brewing within my body and mind.


“But why do you feel so alone? Your friends—are they not nice to you?”

She asked, this time directing the question at me.

“The world doesn’t have it out for me.

It’s like I’ve got it out for myself.”

And so, I told her the only thing holding me to this earth

Were those people like her who refused to let me go

In cramped, clean-walled hospital rooms.


But when I was released from that room,

Having convinced all but myself that I could return to school,

I was left again with sleepless nights, negative self-talk,

And scars that covered more than just my arms.

Yet, still, I was kept alive by kind words over midnight phone calls

From a mom who assured me that she wouldn’t let me go from this earth

Neither in a small hospital room nor a college dorm that felt lightyears from home.

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