by Neesa Suncheuri
Trigger warning: suicide
Her pillbox hat summarizes the ideas that collect within it.
Feminine residue, a powdery past of dainty tradition.
Soap, flowers and gauzy slips, accidental beauty, hairstyles curled.
Purple, impossible-hued lids, now rendered stunning against blue eyes,
And when she goes to sleep, the boxes close.
To dream of cooking steam, a pot filled with dinner for children.
A recipe, such a puzzle to joyfully engage any woman.
No primary colors at all on the plate,
Just spinach, potatoes and meatloaf from Grandma’s cookbook.
Complaints, whines and rejection are her reward.
The bedroom in morning, husband is gone.
Marriage is a vacant affair, a window opened.
The sheets are pressed flat, the ceiling fan turned on low.
Such wifely duties require no school,
Simply mastery of the unappreciated skill of Patience.
Her face should be blithe and gay,
But instead it is lined.
Her form should be correct and desirable,
But there is a ripple here, a bulge there.
Her aspirations should be short and limited,
But instead they are stifled.
And her love for her child?
Should be tender, but in fact is conflicted.
Baby in arm, she steps out onto the balcony.
And the breeze has a feel that encourages one to stay home.
An infant’s bassinet to the side, in goes Jacob,
A final pat tucks him underneath the down.
Then Patience, that womanly character itself,
Takes three steps towards the sun,
And jumps for her freedom past the iron rail.
Gone is mother,
Gone is wife,
And gone is
From this home.
Staff Writer – Poetry
Neesa Suncheuri works as a mental health peer specialist at a housing agency in Queens, New York. She is the founder of a Facebook discussion group for peer specialists and other recovery enthusiasts, entitled “What is Wellness? A Mental Health Discussion Group.” Much of her creative inspiration is rooted in her now-tamed schizophrenia. She writes poetry and fiction, and maintains a blog called Unlearning Schizophrenia. She is also a singer/songwriter, and an enthusiast for the German language and culture. Follow her on Twitter at @neesasuncheuri.