Mari Pack: I Am Dying
This Poem is About Depression
Once, I watched a September dove,
as light and sweet as a Dutch pancake, make a somber thump
against the un-shattered glass of a Toyota Camry in Boston.
Can you tell? It is autumn again, and I am spent.
“All my poems are about depression,” I tell Max.
He is twenty-three years old, and we are sitting on the couch
that I bought with our money before I knew the shapes his hands could make
when they are pointing at the chair, laughing; telling me to Fuck off.
“Why not write a happy poem?” he asks, and it is not unkind.
Once, I sat cross legged and shaking
on the floor of my bedroom, surrounded by black onyx,
protective stones. I read ten or twelve tarot cards to tell my future.
The tower brings good medicine, destroys what no longer serves.
Judgement: a collective consciousness, love of a mother, take care.
I am on the phone, telling a Jewish boy with blue eyes that I want
to bear his children. Telling him that he has no idea what this feels like.
No idea what this feels like! Telling him that I think I am dying. I know that I think
I am dying. Something in me is dying.
I tell my father that I am fine. I am fine. I am fine.
I tell my father that I am fine because if I don’t tell my father that I am fine,
he will tell my mother, who is too old to carry me in her bones.
Once, I stripped as naked and whole as a new born coon-child
in the slick-floored kitchen of a dead end apartment. Mercury in retrograde
is never lost on me, and when I bared my chest like a drum, no one blinked.
“Thank you,” they said. “Thank you for sharing your beauty with us.”
I am good at sharing my beauty with us.
Once, at a Brooklyn arts festival,
I kissed my childhood friend on the lips
in a moment of blind devotion. I can love,
it whispers. I can love for years and years -
through fickle time and merciless age!
But I do not say, but if words had lips they would say,
“Here. Here is the spot where I lived.
Where I dove deep into pools of sun-streaked ocean tide.
Where I woke. Blessed. Died. Died again. Awoke.
Made pure the tangles of my heart. Gave back. Gave in. Gave up.
Came back again. Swung around. Shot up through stars, landed in dirt.
Spoke to Jesus. To Buddha. To G-d. Answered prayers.
Was made holy by mitzvot. Was given a second chance. Was kissed back.
Where I, in short, deserved it.”
This is my happy poem.
Mari Pack is a poet, short story writer, and recovering academic from the outskirts of Washington, D.C. She earned her M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 2013, and promptly abandoned the ivory tower to work for a social justice nonprofit in Israel. She loves deserts, tundras, and all other forms of wasteland. Her work has been published in Quail Bell Magazine, Greenpointers, Thought Catalogue, and Art Refurbish, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, and desperately wants a whippet.