Letter to Myself
By Lena DiBiasio
Discussed: Mental Illness
This piece was written to myself, and is a reflection of the self-hatred that I often feel as a teenage girl. It also depicts the enveloping and consuming nature of my anxiety.
Smooth watermelon rinds glide across sticky glass tables Those tables my grandfather had on the crumbling patio out back Next to the lawn full of dog shit I wouldn't dare step foot on. I am a mourning dove, cooing at your window and waiting And you Are your mothers greatest disappointment beyond her graying strands Tomorrow, air will struggle to reach soft pink lungs, Wheezing in and out as the briny taste of seawater hits my lips There are ants in the bathroom and Mother isn't sure what to do Do not kill. Do not harm them because they are living and breathing as I am living and breathing The bed is caving in underneath me as I feel the soft tickle of movement on my body My toes, feet, ankles, calves are covered in a thin layer of ant But I cannot kill. A man hobbled, then lies still on the bench outside But you fail to slip a dollar into his cup. I see it sticking out of your dirty, filthy pocket. Your dirty, filthy hands instead reach for the volume button to sing you a pleasant lullaby.
You love pistachio ice cream. You seem like the type of person to love pistachio ice cream. The ants have reached my torso but I let them be Watermelon has the taste of a soggy rag and still I savor the seeds in my mouth as if I will not see tomorrow The ants are swallowing me whole now and the tears begin to fall, though they do not wash away the teeming black dots on my increasingly raw flesh. I did not know ants could bite. My thoughts return to you because we sadly share so much in common Dear friend, you are nothing to me but a yellow tulip, crushed under the sole of yet another passerby And I am nothing but a mourning dove Passing by.
This poem was written after a five-minute free-write, where my mentor and I wrote down as many random words and phrases as we could. After forming this list, I attempted to include as many as I could into a poem while maintaining structure and a coherent message. Emotions of anxiety and self-hatred had been weighing down on me around the time when I wrote this poem, so I strung together the list of random words as an outlet for these feelings.
Lena DiBiasio is an aspiring writer attending high school in New York City. She has been writing since the ripe young age of eight years old and her love for the craft has not diminished since. She won silver and gold National Scholastic Awards in 2019 and received a silver regional Scholastic award in both 2020 and 2021.