The Ancient Modern

Interpreting Depression  /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

I have occasional dry seasons. Uncreative. Unanchored.
I can’t think clearlyas if using the wrong lens, the wrong eyes.

I wish to write the fragments as they fall, no matter what they say.
Perhaps I can arrange them to tell a story.

But I pick up the pen only to put it down a moment later.
Unfinished. Unremembered. Unresolved. Everything seems unresolved.

My thoughts are muffled and muted, but perhaps
I can record the emotions: I feel… clumsy? hungry? disoriented?

Are these emotions? They are mixed with anger and sadness,
but my imagination interferes, spilling over, coloring what I feel.

Nothing is itself. I might cry or break something or find a tree
A tree to wrap its roots around me. Something about it all seems

suicidal. If I’m honest. But not an inclination to act. It’s more
a sense that something (myself?) has already died.

Small and voiceless. Mild. But present. The suicide happened
sometime ago. I did it. But then forgot. I am absented, gone.

But no one else is yet aware. No one has noticed I am gone.
My body is alone somewhere in a cold room, shot or poisoned

or starved. No one is looking for me. I set it all up
that I should appear, for awhile, happy and talkative. Present.

I don’t want anyone to feel my sense of displacement.
No one should have to live this dry moment with me. No loss.

No break. They remember something said recently,
said in my voice: a comment about a book, about fragments

separated, about a thing in need of repair. It sets the mind
at ease. The broken thing isn’t pressing. Weather. Travels.

By then the body will be solidified, preserved. Dry.
And light as the shell of a seed.

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2020 by Joshua Alan Sturgill

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