Your husband told you if you killed yourself he wouldn’t be sad, but relieved. I had to run it back. Why did I know what that felt like, Nina? How could I know you like myself? I called B for the first time in years and told him what your husband said, how it might have been B’s own mouth. He avoided the question, and wished me all the best. I wrote an essay about the time I was in the psych ward and never mentioned all the foul little pieces that fell across his lips. He grabbed the telephone from my hands and said my mom was crazy. That I was too when I told him I'd called her in the middle of the night. No one believed I'd spoken to her. I don't want to be misunderstood either, of course. I walked away and he followed me, “You probably charmed the EMTs like you do everyone,” like it was a crime, like I had known they were coming and made tea. We were engaged once, me and him. We got divorced, and then moved in together four years later. On the phone he said I was going to have to be in the same room with him sooner or later, and I’d have to manage not to punch him. I don’t make promises I can’t keep.
Tell me more about freedom, my queen. “No fear”? Who lets me live like that but me? I think about what it means to be an artist who reflects the times. I wish I had language for Lithium’s slurry trudge across my brain. I wish I had an entire lexicon for biting my fists into apologies for him. I wish there was a diagnosis for the way I had to stay offline all day because I kept thinking the dead black boy was my brother. My mom told me not to sing when I was a child because I couldn’t stay on key. I wish that was my language, but most times I sing in public my voice cracks and thousands of jumping spiders fall out. When I’m alone, and it’s July and the windows are open, you know how I feel. It’s like emptying the marrow from your own bones, letting them wish you dead, instead of better, instead of free.