Listen: a Poem for Mental Health Awareness

Listen.
The sound of laughter exploding like sequins
confetti bursting across a naked canvas.
The sound of her heart breaking – not neatly in half
but into infinitesimally small shards like a broken window
(or mirror).
That little sniff she makes when she’s happy, instead of
laughing.

Listen.
The sound of quiet tears cascading down her cheeks,
raining on her cheekbones like water in the valley.
The way her voice raises when she has been pushed
past her breaking point.
The way she sighs when she is nostalgic for a past.
(You cannot bear to tell her the past she misses
is not her own, but some kaleidoscopic vision
of an idyllic childhood she never experienced.)

Listen.
How her voice drops when you make her laugh
but becomes little-girl soft and trembles when she’s afraid.
The sound of her abandonment when she feels neglected
and you push her to the side like a discarded toy or
used batteries.
The sound of her anxiety buzzing like a swarm of moths
writhing in her stomach – impossible, alive, and yet
unbearable.

Listen.
How she swears she has no secrets, but
sometimes, her irises are as dark as her pupils
and you cannot pull her out of her own hellish landscape.
How she tells a story with her hands waving and voice
rising and falling like a crescendo and decrescendo.
How it sounds when her switches are flipped when you ask,
“Have you taken your meds?”

Listen.
Her bipolar is just a facet, but these volatile moods
are here to stay.
Make friends with the dark. Name her shadows,
but celebrate her light. Luxuriate in her levity.

She doesn’t know which side she will display,
but it’s a battle she fights inside and has been fighting
for far too long.
(She is tired – so damn tired – but she promised you
she wouldn’t surrender.
And she’s a girl who fulfills her promises,
even if they crucify her.)

End the stigma.

2 thoughts on “Listen: a Poem for Mental Health Awareness

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