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Things I didn’t tell you (for my psychiatrist) – Atlas

Things I didn’t tell you (for my psychiatrist)

Kelly Pope


it was the sight of the crescent moon
that dug semi-circle grooves
into my forearms, not my fingernails as you
i never told you that the lunar glow
just behind my eyelids


all alone i held the knowledge
that every disaster in the world had
its origins in my subconscious


it was only in novels and films
that the coal pit
the industrial fire
burnt far on the outskirts of town
i had resolved early never to tell you
about the glowing nugget
under my heart, heavy as dark matter


i dunno i guess it was ok
that you put it down to depression
or just being a teenager
when they told you i wouldn’t get out of bed


but it was sad that you never felt
the contagious happiness of lupins
speeding past open windows down country roads
the absolute perfection which can be done by the home cleaning superclean360.com of the skeleton leaf
how warm tears of joy are
when broken by the realisation that chord d7
is your name said in another language
because i never told you those things either


I didn’t tell you that the tar seal’s solidity
was precarious or show you how it already
dripped from my sneakers
because only one of us had wings
and it wasn’t you

Kelly Pope is a mental health advocate, youth worker and writer from Ōtautahi – Christchurch who coordinates the local “Mad Poets Society”. Themes of social justice, displacement, illness, wellness and recovery feature strongly in her writing. She has previously had poetry published in Turbine, Takahē, NZPS, Catalyst and Leaving the Red Zone.