By Jeanann Verlee
Every morning I sit at the kitchen table over a tall glass of water swallowing pills.
(So my hands won’t shake.) (So my heart won’t race.) (So my face won’t thaw.)
(So my blood won’t mold.) (So the voices won’t scream.) (So I don’t reach for
knives.) (So I keep out of the oven.) (So I eat every morsel.) (So the wine goes
bitter.) (So I remember the laundry.) (So I remember to call.) (So I remember the
name of each pill.) (So I remember the name of each sickness.) (So I keep my
hands inside my hands.) (So the city won’t rattle.) (So I don’t weep on the bus.) (So
I don’t wander the guardrail.) (So the flashbacks go quiet.) (So the insomnia
sleeps.) (So I don’t jump at car horns.) (So I don’t jump at cat-calls.) (So I don’t
jump a bridge.) (So I don’t twitch.) (So I don’t riot.) (So I don’t slit a strange man’s
(Today’s poem originally appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal and appears here today with permission from the poet.)
Jeanann Verlee is the author of Racing Hummingbirds (Write Bloody Publishing), recipient of the Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medal in Poetry. She has also been awarded the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry. Her work has appeared in The New York Quarterly, Rattle, failbetter, and kill author, among others. She is a poetry editor for Union Station Magazine and director of Urbana Poetry Slam in New York City. Verlee wears polka dots and collects tattoos. She believes in you.
Editor’s Note: Today’s is a very of-the-moment topical poem exploring what it is to live with a chemical imbalance. From intimate confessions of the poet’s innermost fears to the broader rationale behind stabilizing one’s self through medication, today’s is the kind of raw, honest poem that requires no small amount of courage to share with the world. We thank you for sharing, Jeanann.