Ill living

Cover of poetry chapbook We, Old Young OnesOnce, when I was much much younger, I told someone I trusted that every day I chose to live. I thought this person might understand something of what it was to live with chronic migraine. But they ordered a wellness check and our interactions turned achingly distant and coldly professional.

I am reading the October Daye books right now. Toby spends the first several books recovering from a series of traumatic events and grieving deeply. She does not choose to die, but she doesn’t choose to live either. When she encounters danger (and of course she does – half-fae knight detective that she is) she flings herself at it. She doesn’t think she wants to die, but she doesn’t want to live and so she doesn’t try.

Sometimes living is a choice. It is a good choice to make. That Someone I trusted didn’t understand, but poet Dominik Parisien does. Here is a poem from his chapbook We, Old Young Ones. It is part of Frog Hollow Press’ Dis/Ability series and now I want to read them all.

After deciding not to die by suicide, you should be thinking

of all the usual gratitudes. Too often
is it really life you live is asked of you and yours;
tragedy their anticipated narrative.

Cue slow pan on some bottles.
Hint of bluish arm.
Dramatic fade to black.

Consider: can you be disabled and contribute
something new on suicide, or will all your words
read tragic, even when they celebrate?

Are you writing using you through empathy or cowardice?
If in weariness you call the poem just a poem
even once, what harm will that denial cause?

Facing suicide, are unanswerable questions
the only ones worth asking?

Worth ending with?