Promotional Tour for My Crippling Depression
pack your things, it’s time
to hit the road.
you’re good at running away
so this should be easy,
but please don’t make this harder
by thinking you need to stay.
you don’t need to stay.
you really don’t need to stay.
there’s nothing left for you,
you spent months burning bridges
because you know,
even on the surface of yourself,
that you have to do this.
too many pills,
not enough socks,
first stop is home.
only for a little while.
only until you can’t breathe.
it’s been so long
that sometimes you forget that
home is where you cracked
like the goddamn liberty bell:
the beginning of your revolution.
ever since then it’s been hairline fractures
you could never outrun.
home is a lot of things now.
it’s long sleeves and longer nights.
show your scars like help wanted signs
even though help is the last thing
you’d ever ask for.
people will line up to run their fingers
down your arms,
across your wrists,
over every ripped seam of your broken body.
take the time to unlearn the sidewalks.
pull yourself from their cracks while you’re there,
you might as well.
it’s time you got out for good –
head north and cross the highway without looking.
let the cold be stronger than you,
let it remind you
that every part of you must be felt,
that you’re still human;
so, so human.
leave blood and love
behind you like breadcrumbs.
don’t let yourself find comfort.
be a face on crowded streets
and through bus windows
but never at the dinner table.
head west on the day
the cashier at the corner store
remembers your name.
don’t realize it’s your birthday
until you’re five miles out
and four drinks in.
try to beat the sun to the horizon
and rest in a place that reminds you of
your mother’s eyes and
your father’s hands and
you’re going to find places
that remind you of people
because you’ve always felt safer
with a rib cage or a gap-toothed smile
than bare walls or spare keys.
stand on street corners
advertising your bleeding heart
and hand out pieces of paper
covered in the names of people
who you think ruined you.
walk into the ocean
in your best shirt and pants,
your best “meeting the parents” outfit,
your pockets filled with
rejection letters (five),
love notes (sixty-two), and
drug store receipts (eighty-nine).
people are going to stare
and you’re going to let them.
even though they didn’t buy tickets for this show
they eat up your act,
this unnatural disaster.
swallow mouthfuls of seawater
to keep yourself from
giving these strangers parts of you;
just dig your toes into the sand
and think about drowning.
think about swallowing a grenade,
lying down on the train tracks,
stepping over the railing of a fourth floor hotel balcony.
drag yourself from the freezing water
because you weren’t made
to let the riptide take you.
they’re all talking about you now,
coast to coast.
they’ve seen you crumble
in all the most horrifying ways.
isn’t this what you wanted?
to make a name for yourself
outside the class rosters
and therapists’ records,
something bigger than a byline
but safer than an obituary.
you’ve done what you left to do
and it’s probably the first time in months
where you’ve seen something through to the end.
does it feel any better now?
it doesn’t matter which ocean you call home
or what skies saw your breakdown
or what state you go back to.
all you’ve done is leave a stomach of broken glass
and a heart of barbed wire
in no man’s land.
you’re waiting for no one at an airport terminal.
you’re calling yourself a cab.
you’re arriving home to a dark house.
you’re sleeping alone.
you’re sleeping alone.
By Katherine Fletcher
Katherine Fletcher is a sophomore English Education major at Syracuse University. Her work has previously been featured in the university publications Jerk Magazine and Perceptions as well as the literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters. The titles of the submitted pieces are “Promotional Tour for My Crippling Depression”, “Depression Is A Bad Tenant”, “apocalypse”, and “What Brought Me Here (told in seven parts).”