Happy

A poem about depression in a world on fire.

Kelly J. Baker
Jul 24, 2020 · 2 min read
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Close up of a fire with orange flames and burned wood.

Why can’t you be happy? they ask, as if the world isn’t aflame.

As if your happiness matters.

As if the already cracked world isn’t about to shatter before we can cement it back together.

As if you can simply be happy.

As if you should be happy.

As if you can shift from despair to joy because you wish and will it to be so.

As if your wishing and willing matters.

As if you aren’t depressed. Again.

As if depression can be cured by someone telling you that you can be happy.

As if depression can be cured. Period.

As if you have control over your brain.

As if you have control over anything.

As if depression, your depression, isn’t a legitimate reaction to our broken, engulfed world.

As if there aren’t flames and cracks and ashes and fragments.

Why can’t you be happy? they ask.

As if asking the question matters.

As if happiness is the right response to now.

Why can’t you be happy? they ask.

Again and again and again.

You want to shout, Fire, fire, fire, fire!

But the words get lodged in your throat.

You choke. You can’t breathe.

You wonder why they aren’t suffocated by the smoke filling your lungs. Does it not fill theirs too?

You wonder why they can’t feel the heat.

You wonder why they can’t see the gaping cracks at their feet.

Because if they can’t smell the smoke or cut their hands on jagged edges, how can I make them?

While your eyes sting, your skin blisters, and your hands are torn and bloody, they remain unscathed.

You can’t help but be wounded.

Why can’t you be happy? they ask with a pitying glance.

You still can’t answer. You’re too busy trying to staunch the blood oozing from your hands.

So, you look away.

You look toward the horizon. You see our charred, shattered world and smother your words with silence.

You wait for the question to pass because it will.

How can they be happy in the ruins?

Because they fanned the flames.

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Disability Essays, Screeds, and Manifestos by Disabled…

Kelly J. Baker

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Writer: religion, disability, higher ed, gender & pop culture. Editor: @womeninhighered & @disability_acts. Now writing about #zombies, endings & apocalypses.

Disability Acts

Disability Essays, Screeds, and Manifestos by Disabled Writers for Everyone

Kelly J. Baker

Written by

Writer: religion, disability, higher ed, gender & pop culture. Editor: @womeninhighered & @disability_acts. Now writing about #zombies, endings & apocalypses.

Disability Acts

Disability Essays, Screeds, and Manifestos by Disabled Writers for Everyone

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