a poem to a friend who didn't drop the ribbon

by Anna Berbary

it’s hard to let go of the hand belonging to my grief
after holding on to it for so long; 
feeling its fingers slip away from mine,
knowing it no longer serves me.
i have downed a lot of pills that were
too hard to swallow when learning to heal.

all i ever heard were the words you said, 
the words that made me tie a white ribbon 
around my neck, begging the wind to pick it 
up by its end. but the wind didn’t grab
the edge of my noose, instead
it whispered, live.

at first i didn’t believe the wind, and came
back every day with the ribbon in my hand
just in case she changed her mind.
but she returned, making my 
curls dance around the clouds, moving
them aside so the sun could shine on my face,

and then one day I dropped the ribbon.
and now the arm that i pinned my depression
on like a corkboard only wants to be kissed 
and the only blades i need against 
my skin are of grass. i don’t torture myself
with the songs of Shakey Graves or “White Ferrari.”

i only need to hear the birds outside my 
window and Winston’s purr.

i dive into the worship I finally have for living 
a life you told me wasn’t worth it.

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