Fear is what saved me
all those years ago.

Don’t say it’s selfish.
Call it cowardly but
don’t say it’s selfish.

At first I was worried
what my little sister
would do if she woke up
to be the first to find me.

And then I was frightened
I would leave too much
undone and so maybe
I could force myself
to hold out one more day.

But the truth is
it was fear
that saved me
all those years ago.

When I wake up every morning
I give myself a moment to recall
how it could have been different
if there had been one day when
the selfish outweighed the afraid.
I, like so many other poets, had to stop today and write something to unload the feelings about Robin Williams’ suicide.

Just a few days ago I was talking about suicide with someone. How angry it made me when people called it selfish. I imagine most of the people who say that have never had the grip of severe depression around their throat. On the other hand, I do believe it cowardly. And I shiver when recalling how often I was almost that weak. I am lucky enough that age, time, and good meds have driven me back from that precipice, but I’m one of the lucky ones. And believe me, I know it.


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