Trying To Make My Mother Say the Word “Depression” in a Game of Catch Phrase by Kirsten Uhde

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Trying To Make My Mother Say the Word “Depression” in a Game of Catch Phrase

This word is a little like sadness,
and a little like sickness, only emptier.

Once, you told me that this thing
runs in the family, and then
you said nothing else.

It sounds like a dropped plate
at a wedding, and the hush
we pretend not to notice afterward.

It is a conspiracy theorist, still waiting
for the end of the world. It’s seen all the signs;
most of them have your name on them.

It looks like every side effect on the pill bottle
and tastes like a dish you’d never try;
your tongue is afraid of these syllables,
afraid of the gunshot’s aftermath.

You know this word well. It sounds
like your dead brother’s name.
It sounds like me, leaving.

Kirsten Uhde

Kirsten Uhde is a queer bigender poet from Maine. She was a representative of the 2014 Port Veritas team at the National Poetry Slam, and has been writing poetry enthusiastically since 2011. She believes in unisex bathrooms, the creation of safe spaces, and the healing power of connections established with the help of poetry. You can learn more about her personal, political, and poetic views by following her at