Your Words

a poem by Paula Michelle Puddephatt, UK

Your Words


At such a significant time,
your book surfaced -
came to the top of one of
our "clutter piles" - as
the mental health team,
and certain judgmental
family members
would describe them.
Not entirely accurate -
or entirely inaccurate, either.

So I read your poems -
some prose.
I hadn't been able
to read your words
for so long.

And I am
the same. In so many ways.
I never mentioned that,
did I?
And I never told you
not to worry
that I would "get inside
your mind".
We were friends, right?
So why wouldn't
I be in your mind -
in your heart?
But I relate so much to the
and constant fear of
rejection and abandonment.
I totally do.

And I never read descriptions
of Prozac and Risperidone
as accurate as yours.
Were you still reading
Facebook when I
mentioned that?
I don't think that I ever
said it to you.
Not properly.
You know, what I wrote
was - roughly - that
you captured the feelings - sensations -
of being on the drugs.
My poems have delved
into side-effects, yes -
and the social-political
side...but yours...
so, no - I'm not a "better poet".
I was never, ever
more talented than you.


And I just wanted to say
that I'm sorry
that I wasn't there for you
more -
that I wasn't there
at the end -
that I let my illnesses
and insecurities
control me
to that extent -
but I never, ever
really believed
that you'd die,

and the day you told us
that the "C." word had spread -
you looked better,
quite well.
You were even
putting on weight -
although not nearly enough -

and we were looking at cameras,
and you took a picture
of one of our piles -
receipts or something, I think -
and I so
wanted to
take yours
you were beautiful -
you were you -
but I didn't.
I didn't feel that
I could
at that moment -
and now,
and now...

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