Forget the Snail
Maybe depression is the color of biology,
painted on genes like green-brown eyes
or chalk-blue streaks, blurred by staying under
water too long. Or olive-grey lichens clinging
to oaks, their leaves mothers’ hands calling
you back to shore, while you drift and drift, numb
in the salty sling of the tide,
always in danger of going out too far. Or maybe
depression is a mermaid. Pockets of shiny stones,
she smiles, offers a red plastic shovel, tells you
it is for digging, for moving mountains of sand,
pulls a snail from the surf, tells you
to eat its flesh, keep the shell forever.
Or forget the snail,
jump into the sea and swim as far as your body
will take you. Use your arms to push the tides.
Use your legs to kick the weeds. Dive down,
deeper than your chemistry, to coral gardens,
all honey and bronze, all ruby and lime. Bring
something back, something beautiful,
something you can love.
Do the Dishes
If you don’t want
to do the dishes
don’t. If you are
going to do them
and do them
when you are ready.
Stop being sad
if you can.
Try and remember
you love dishes,
you are lucky
to have them,
food to make them
dirty, running water,
a sink, legs to stand on.
And a mind, too. With it
you can wander
anywhere, go nowhere
while you wash. Turn on
the tap, squeeze the soap,
the sponge, scrub
and rinse. Cry
into the sink if it helps.
Laugh if you think
Close your eyes.
Open your eyes.
to help dry
if you have to.
Mary Panke is an emerging writer who spends her days in Connecticut taking care of people, real and fictitious. Her stories and poems invite readers to look at the world through a questioning lens and find beauty without necessarily finding answers. You can find some of her latest work in The Ekphratisc Review.