Amanda Gaines


He upped my dose again,
the friendly man in white.
I just want to feel normal:
words I almost believe. 
Take one each morning with a glass of water.
Do not drink while taking this medication.

December came early this year,
the wind angry.
I try to find things that are not grey.
My mother’s quilt.
The plastic Christmas tree.
A bottle of whiskey. 

Do not drink while taking this medication.
Oh, but only this once. Look at me,
so pretty with my 99 cent lipstick
smeared red beneath the lower lip I keep
biting.  I can’t hold myself responsible
for the drinks I don’t remember
ordering.  I just want
to feel beautiful. The rest will fall
into place. I’m wrung thin
and strung out from nights spent
without sleeping.  It’s getting harder
to tell when I’m lying
to myself. I shake the pill bottle
for reassurance that at least for tomorrow
I’m good. The tired face in the mirror seems friendly

The sky looks like an open wound.
I watch the skin around my knuckles
pale and crack as I walk across
the South Park bridge, knowing that
there’s someone waiting for me
at home: a scared girl I resemble
and keep trying to replace. 

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