Around Me

Everyone around me is falling.

Everyone around me is a candle
Caught in a storm.
The earth is graying
With little white lights flicking in the sky.
Trees are heaving down;
Rain is flying upwards;
The sun won’t rise because we no longer see it.
The streets are littered with what used to be;
Bits of debris flit around like snowflakes.

Everyone around me is falling like baby birds,
But I can only ever catch a wing or two,
Perhaps a beak here or there.
My arms flail like maddened hornets.

Everyone around me is a pasty photograph,
Their edges blurred raw by what could have been.
They expect me to renew time,
But I am tired.
I kneel before them with seeds in outstretched hands.

Sorrow lingers in the air like the scent of tobacco.
Everyone around me smokes reality on the daily,
Their lungs swimming like fishes.

I have tried,
And I am tired.

About the Poem

The pandemic had a substantial impact on mental health access and care for millions of Americans, and I feel it’s important to discuss this reality. The stigma surrounding mental health has persisted for far too long, and we can’t continue to dehumanize one another by maintaining unequal access to costly mental health services.

About the Author

Gabrielle is a student at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Creative Writing and Neuroscience. She grew up in New York City, where she enjoyed taking advantage of its various writing and arts opportunities. In addition to writing, she loves reading, running, drawing, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family. She has previously been published in Apparition Lit, Girls Write Now, the Decameron Project, Cathartic Lit Magazine, and others.

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