By Gabby Vachon
I am sick, but not for your pleasure.
Do not paint me in a corner crying
Slitting my wrists to the sound of Sylvia Plath
Pondering the existence of a God
Wiping my tears with a black silk handkerchief.
Be someone else’s Nurse Barbie.
I do not have coal for eyes
And violets underneath
And a rose petal mouth
Ready to say some daunting one liner.
I have blue eyes, like my mother’s,
I look just fine, it’s called concealer,
And my mouth is pale,
Because I conceal that too,
To prevent nothingness from slipping out.
My sadness is not sadness,
It’s called depression.
It’s not called prompt for your poem,
It’s not called reason to take a bubble bath,
It’s not called beautiful long dress meant for drowning,
Because the drowning happens before I step foot in water.
The drowning is saying not a word for weeks,
So forget me writing poetry.
I am a shell that doesn’t need to be drawn on!
I need to be broken into a million pieces,
And glued back together at my own pace.
Nurse Barbie, I am tired.
I want to be seen,
But you note the paleness of my skin
Before ever even realizing
That it hasn’t been washed in weeks.
Unhinged at 3am
Swipe right, I fear you not
Let’s meet where I work
Let’s get a matching tattoo
Come see my play
In a shitty Dollarama basement
In my childhood home
Tinder, you’ve made me proud
Take all my dimly lit selfies
And ask for more but without my pajama shirt
I’ll blot my red lips on your cheek
Wipe the rest on your mother’s handkerchief
I am louder at night by the buzzing of my phone
I ache to be remembered
After a long day of classes
With that young English professor
I am 22, a woman,
Act like one
And fall privy to the predator, arms wide open
Find me a skirt short enough
And I will wear it
And I wake up with my fishnets around my neck
Sharp Red Tongue
Sit you there in your woven knit sweater
Atop your high chair
And take notes
Take notes of how deeply ill I am
How my tears smell of salt and blood
What part of the DSM do I fit?
What part of Pfizer’s selection do I fit?
What part of your narrative do I fit?
You probably see my bloodshot nails
And swollen cuticles
And scattered skin crumbs all over your carpet
So you see a piece of your puzzle
A puzzle you will take in your hands
And put together with sticky fingers
Like a child learning shapes
Like the child you recommend I don’t have.
Somehow, Doctor, you’ve made this about you, haven’t you?
You’ve made this about your own fears of failure
Because when you tell me you understand
What you really mean is you’ve seen so many of me
So many young girls with clean red lips
And jagged red scars
And sharp red tongues
Showing their teeth to you,
As you pull out cavities one by one.
Yet we still rot in your office
Finding ourselves in the morgue
As a story parents tell their kids
About what happens when you don’t listen
To the doctor’s orders.
And you know, don’t you,
That you don’t save lives,
But simply halt them a moment in time
Like a scene from a movie
Where a young girl holds her breath underwater
And you pause the DVD to watch her drown.
I will not drown,
But only because,
The floating tube you threw at me,
I let sink to the bottom of the country club pool.
Gabby Vachon is a writer and artist from Montreal, Canada. She has been published or is upcoming in Ink In Thirds, The Corvus Review, and many more. She is also an editor for Soliloquies Magazine. Her favorite food is the skin around her cuticles and she is happily and forever married to her soulmate, Justin. Follow her on Twitter @gabbyvwrites
Sami Holden earned an MFA in Screenwriting from UC-Riverside at Palm Desert and is the founder of The Tiny Tim Literary Review. Previously she was a dating advice columnist for The Good Men Project’s column - Dating in the Digital Age with Sami Holden as well as the press and social media editor for The Coachella Review. She wrote a blog for a number of years called Chronicles of Cheerful Clotter for HemAware Magazine, where she detailed her life with chronic health conditions. Sami is also an associate producer and press manager for the documentary Invisible: The Film, which focuses on individuals living with chronic pain and invisible illness. She has served on the Board of Directors for the National Hemophilia Foundation, spent time as a Senatorial intern, and was Miss Wisconsin for the ANTSO program. In addition, she has had articles published in Chronicality, Elephant Journal, The Glow (Australia), I.G. Living Magazine, The Manifest-Station, The Mighty, National Pain Report, Ravishly, and YourTango. Her interests include ukuleles and sloths. Find her @SamiDan19.