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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.


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