On the Morning I Awaken to News of His Death

by Talia Young

This is not the first morning I awaken to news of death,
though, perhaps, the first one I notice
the snow outside. Last night, ambulances
bled their pale light against the dormitory
walls, as I listened to their song, bright and blank
and this morning I awake feeling fine.
In the bathroom mirror I watch myself
swallow a July moon, pupiless eye, pearl from a sea
of happiness somewhere. The pill doesn’t relieve
pain, like advil, but does. The little stone
in my palm that may have kept me here, today,
where the snow is already melting. I don’t know
when first depression came, when it settled quiet
as dust on the windowsill, a new layer of overnight snow
in dead winter, I never said its name until much later,
before I just called it The Great Sadness, a green field
I lay in for a while.
And there was an extra joy in the swallowing
this morning, when I am still in the world of the living.
Not pressing my ear to the glass
which is my heartbeat. Not staring at
my blood aquarium, not today, not lying
in bed drowned in what keeps me alive. This morning,
and for the past few mornings, I awake feeling fine
as the world swells with a new loss, a new heart
plucked off a branch like a sweet and ripe fruit
and a girl I’ve never met, in the cafeteria is sobbing, but lately,
for me, the living has been softer.