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.