for babies that love colorful liquids found under the sink

people who can’t read labels

or those who don’t want to wake up the next morning, or ever


suck it in

8 pills because you want to die

but not enough to take the whole bottle

and it worries you that no one knows you might be dying

so you wake your dad up at 4 in the morning

and tell him


and you call poison control like he tells you to

and they tell you to go to the hospital

so dad sighs and puts on some pants and

you get your shoes on and go to the emergency room

where they ask you a lot of questions

and you keep saying I just wanted to go to sleep

I couldn’t sleep

and they don’t believe you because they aren’t stupid


they make you drink charcoal

which comes in a toothpaste shaped tube

and they say it’s flavored with sugar so it goes down easier

and when you taste it your gag reflex reflexes so that

you can only take a few sips at a time without vomiting

but they tell you to drink faster because too much time has passed

to pump your stomach, and you try to drink faster but it tastes

like liquid chocolate ice cream with sand and dirt mixed in

and they bring in the doctor so you tell him you can’t do it and

throw up on his shoes

so you keep on throwing up and you haven’t drank half the black stuff

and you have to drink a whole thing of it

but since you keep throwing it up you don’t have much choice


they stick a tube in your nose, down your throat while you drink gulps of water

so you don’t choke but it feels like you’re always choking

and you can feel the grit of the black between your teeth and you think

damn I must look so attractive right now sarcastically at yourself

because it’s just one more thing to be down about

not to mention the tube in your nose that goes down to your stomach


that hurts and you feel the cold black liquid mixed with water push down

through you and fill your tummy up like a balloon until it feels full

but there’s always more charcoal and you have to swallow the whole thing

even though lying on the emergency room gurney you feel the effects of taking

8 pills like the room is spinning sideways and the ceiling doesn’t look right

and all the while you’re moaning and crying because you couldn’t help the throwing up

and after the dizziness subsides there’s more charcoal

cold at the back of your throat and down your esophagus

and your stomach swells again


the worst is what happens after the charcoal settles and the tube is finally

pulled out with you coughing and throwing up some more but they say you had enough

to help you not ingest the toxins


and because they didn’t believe your story, you are forced to go to the U of M psych ward

and to get there they have to strap you to a gurney and take you in an ambulance because

people like you try to jump out the back of the ambulance apparently and your dad is


because he doesn’t want to admit that that could be true, even though it’s pretty obvious


when you get into the ambulance you stare out the tiny window and the tree tops and

sky and see if there’s any birds, trying to understand what life is about and what happened

last night, why you survived, why you told your dad, if you actually wanted to die, and

you also

want to look profound in front of the ambulance people because if you did try to kill


you wanted it to seem like you had purpose and were thoughtful about it but the lady

sitting next

to you mistakes it for concern and says don’t worry, your dad’s right behind us and you

just smile

because there’s no way for her to understand what you’re thinking


you can’t remember how you got past the psych ward people because you think you’re


and you just wanted to go home and again kept saying you were just tired and wanted to

go to sleep

and dad’s really upset and doesn’t understand but you can’t explain it because you don’t


understand it yourself


after that you never try to overdose again but you go on cutting because that makes sense

and hides easily

eventually you admit yourself to the psych ward because you realize that even though


makes you feel you have control, it’s not how a normal person deals with things so

you go for a week and even though your friends don’t visit you they send a card along

and even though life doesn’t get easier you only have a few relapses and sometimes the

urge still comes up but you think of the people who care about you, because there is

always at least ONE person that cares about you, and you can’t bring yourself to do it any



the scars are there to remind you of where you’ve been and you’re grateful to have them

and you still have trouble choking down chocolate ice cream that is the least bit gritty

but you are thankful for that too.


By Kristin Stetler