Thank You for Calling
It seems absurd, sometimes, that I answer a suicide hotline when I still struggle to manage my own recurrent mental illness. Many mornings, I wake up with depression curled on my chest like my fat cat, and confuse the crushing weight for a collapsed lung. I am not always sure how much longer I will be able to keep rising before my body gives up on breath. I make lists of reasons why I should stay alive, go to work, and read them aloud to strangers in my most supportive voice. I dream about faceless children loading guns underwater and imagine the first time a caller kills herself while on the phone with me. I worry about whether I will be able to get a job, pay the rent, afford my prescriptions. I buy dry shampoo, too tired to wash my hair. After hours in the trenches of writing, I sometimes look at my lover and startle, as if just realizing that he has been here all along, as if I had been watching a stranger wash the dishes and make me breakfast. I take my medicine. I make the bed. I write these poems.
English Language and Literature
O'Connor, Colleen, "Thank You for Calling" (2014). Honors Projects. 37.