December 4, 2022

Humpty Dumpty

by Kim Malinowski

 

I met Humpty Dumpty at a poetry reading before she fell off the wall.
Stuttering, shy, hardly alert, she trembled during my inquisition.

I like neurotic protagonists.  

A few coffees later, a mimosa—I got her chatty,
her words a whisper, I held her hand getting closer.

She had played the suicide game her freshman year of college,
swallowing a rainbow of pills.
Lamotrigine, lithium, buspirone, Tylenol, all shapes and formulations,
every dosage she had.

She screwdrivered herself and woke up still holding the vodka bottle,
without hearing in her left ear.
She said God had spoken, orange pulp still between her teeth.
All that day marveled at the sensation of sun rays,
how her hearing gradually came back.

This was before she fell and couldn’t be put back together again.

A few years passed, still she was at it.
This time with a knife, well more like twelve knives.
She could only scratch her skin.

She checked herself into the hospital,
swinging from the highs of possibilities
to the lows of probabilities.

Xanax, Zyprexa, Latuda, Lorazepam, Clonazepam,
those little pills you take, she tried all of it.
She swam in pharmaceuticals that every addict envied.
Her life was all side effects and disillusionment. Disappointment.
She wanted to be famous, make a difference.
Instead, she counted out her pills and took them rigidly.

She jumped off of the wall days after we spoke.
No note, just frustration.
It made page A5 of the newspaper.

I still feel her clutching fingers.

The doctors are stitching her back together again,
there were so many pieces.

 

Kim Malinowski is a lover of words. Her collection Home was published by Kelsay Books and her verse novel Clutching Narcissus was published by Twelve House Books. Her chapbook Death: A Love Story was published by Flutter Press, and she has two forthcoming verse novels, the first, Phantom Reflection, will be released by Silver Bow Publishing in the upcoming weeks.  She writes because the alternative is unthinkable.