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The Garden of My Life: A Poem on Depression

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Depression plants itself within me
without warning.
It flourishes
without water, without sun,
without a second thought to the lump in my throat.

It’s a weed that trips me up.
In the garden of my life
I fall hard in the dirt,
and it weaves and winds its way through me,
ensnaring any hope or joy or faith it can find.

I panic,
I scramble —
desperate to halt the growth.
This toxic weed spares no mercy,
invading the terrain of my life.

Seedlings of hope are carefully tended to:
watered with tears.
My tears, my parents’ tears, my partner’s tears.
But we all know that
flowers don’t survive floods.

So we get down on our knees
and yank it out of the ground —
sweat pouring down our brows,
knees stained from the dirt.
It feels good to do something.

Yet the weed grows back twice as fast,
and I don’t recognize this garden.
So we pull in the professionals
who stop and stare at the damage,
they tell us what we know.

There is not a way
to kill the weed
yet keep the flowers.
So I lie down in the ruins
and pray.

I used to be a garden
of sunshine and laughter
and the sort of flowers that bloom all year round.
I need to change my metaphor soon,
or I’ll lay down my trough —
and I’m not ready for that yet.

Originally published: July 1, 2017
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