By Holly Day
PROMPT — Who am I today?
I finally get diagnosed and it answers
everything, and I almost laugh out of relief because
despite all of the horrible things possibly waiting
in my future, I am not bipolar. I never was.
How fucked up is it
that I’m actually relieved to be handed a sentence
that may or may not equal radiation therapy, blindness, surgery
so long as it’s not a future that includes
my regular manic phases dipping into a place of real darkness
something I’ve fought my entire life, though I was brilliantly regulating
through diet and sleep and sunshine and forced cheerfulness
and now I know that was never needed, the danger
of depression was never really there.
I wonder how I’ll feel about it all
if I do go blind, can’t read or write anymore
if I’ll be content with sitting on my porch, listening to the birds singing
if that will be enough, or will I wish instead
that the diagnosis would have been one of mental illness instead
that a couple of pills a day might have taken away the music in my heart
but would have let me live as a whole person
for as long as I thought was necessary.
Holly Day’s writing has recently appeared in Analog SF, Earth’s Daughters, and Appalachian Journal. Her recent book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body, and Bound in Ice. She teaches creative writing at The Loft Literary Center and Hugo House. Holly writes from Minneapolis, MN.