Artwork by Mary Callaway
Like a river held back by a dam, my thoughts lay still and somewhat dormant.
The dam makes the water pretty and motionless, and it protects the land downstream.
It’s beautiful. I point to the flowers that bloom along the bank.
It’s fun. I point to the ducks that play in the still water.
I was an upstream-swimming fish before – some unproductive loser.
Now that the dam is up, nasty fish can’t lay their eggs in my lake.
Time to become my best self –
Sayonara, salmon and suicidal thoughts!
Water boils up and begins its ascent over the edge of the dam.
What caused this? Did a bird raise the water level by dropping too many pebbles in the lake?
No. It’s the opposite. I forgot to take my pill today.
Is it okay to mess with my brain chemistry like that?
I think so, if it’s to protect my heart.
But this ongoing disaster is a result of my godplay
and I hurt worse than ever
The waves roll over the banks, destroying the flowers and drowning the ducks
My heart convulses as I watch the ecosystem die
The clouds darken, the climate changes as I swim upstream to the kitchen
I throw the pill in the back of my throat and splash fresh water in my mouth
Water stops the passage to my lungs, I try to breathe it out through my gills
My eyes turn outward around my head as I become the prey
A whirlpool of dark thoughts consumes me and I struggle to resurface for breath
I forget that the sun will return tomorrow