Little Words

This one will have to come with a warning label like they put on movies with mature content or graphic novels you don’t want the kids to see.

Content comes with trigger warnings for depression, suicidal ideation.

In honour of #WorldPoetryDay I am publishing a piece that was written as a challenge to create something for a slam poetry event. I have cared for many people in my life that struggle with anxiety and depression. This was written for one of those people. I haven’t had a chance to perform it yet — and hope to do so one day.

Little Words

There’s that tone in my voice, the one that I know you will tune out.
The one that says that I am desperate, needy and not handling this very well.
I try to regain control, to breathe myself down to reasonable,
but the situation this time is so much more:
wrong, difficult, frightening.

I continue the barrage, desperate to find the right approach
All I can see are walls of pain that you have wrapped around you
Solace in the form a hundred small cuts instead of large gaping wounds
I grasp for the way to break through, using little words to slide
Through cracks in the barriers.

“I’m scared of losing you.”

Five words, five little words of raw emotion.
Fear eating me inside out as I can see how close you walk to the edge
One misstep, one wrong move and part of my life will be voided.
Now for the first time you have slid down so far into darkness
I realize I am failing you.

“I can’t lose you.”

Four words, four little words have become my mantra.
Never by nature a fighter and yet I now slay dragons with and for you
I have armoured us against the world, but have yet to wield enough power
To remove the dark abyss that is of your own making
By will alone sometimes, I keep you here

“I love you”

Three words, three little words that I give you everyday.
Believing against all odds that I am strong enough in those words to lift you.
I see your potential, your strength, your future, even when you don’t and
I will not let you leave this world with an empty hole
Where your light should be shining.

“Be strong”

Two words, two little words that feel like hollow advice.
I already know your strength and mine but still a reminder of who you are
And that you are never alone. I have learned to be the rock
You require for your foundation. I will not crumble.
I will help you up every time you fall down.


One word, one little word that is my everyday existence.
The feeling of pride that swells through me every time you conquer another goal
The sliver of light in dark times that allows me to believe we will make it
And that no matter how far down you fall, I will go with you and climb
Us both back into the light again.

A glimmer, a hint of who I know you are shines momentarily
As you reach for those little words of honesty, of caring and cling to them
Like finger holds in the side of a cliff keeping you safe until
Someone throws the rope you need to pull yourself out.
And stand on stable ground once more.

Little words sliding through the gaps in the walls of hurt
Not psycho-pseudo syllabic babble, nor intellectual discourse but the ones
With the power to heal, reveal and feel what is hiding in plain sight
And break open your defenses to my emotional caring, outpouring
Giving you the chance to see tomorrow.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.