When it comes to women’s issues in the culture surrounding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, none is more heart-rending or important than the issue of suicide. This READER POST carries a needful CONTENT WARNING for SUICIDE. –SQ
Reaching for You
brush the hair from your brow,
sing your lullaby while my tears fall on your head.
But you, enshrouded in hospital blue,
smile and say it’s fine.
And not to worry,
that you should be out
Maybe in a week.
Maybe when the scars have healed.
I reach for your hand
the hand I held when you were small,
before we knew
the demon in your mind would control those hands,
would hold the pills and
one two three four
swallow swallow swallow
when my hand, so far away, couldn’t stop yours in time.
I flew all night, crying into the window,
shoving past a man in a cowboy hat waiting his turn,
baritone call of “bitch” behind me,
drove an hour to reach your hospital bed
in hospital blue
and socks with rubber soles
smile and say I’m fine,
I tried not to let you see me cry.
I tried to sing your lullaby.
But the words choked
because what if it’s the last time?
What if this lullaby is The Lullaby?
The machine beeps
and you raise your hand where the IV and monitors say
you are alive.
Fifty-two hours of labor,
morphine and membrane stripping,
half my blood gone,
and when I held you, I promised
I would always always always shelter you.
How can the world exist like this,
turning through space,
soaking in sunlight and starlight,
when this hand of yours
that I’ve loved so much
is filled with a grief I can’t erase?
A hand that might lie still
and leave my hand empty.
What if I never reach your hand in time?
What if next time you don’t hesitate?
What if next time
there isn’t a plane to carry me through the void to you
and what if when I arrive, the monitors don’t beep
but we sit in endless silence
while the Earth hurls through space?
next time is the final time
and the world keeps existing
when all the light has left it?And your hand…
Oh, your hand, your hand grows cold and still.
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One Reply to “Reaching for You”
This is such a powerful poem. I wish healing to both you and your daughter.