I tied a red string around my finger
so I wouldn’t forget the important things:
to swallow my pills in the morning,
to call my mother every night,
to only tell my friends about
kissing the boy from History on Tuesday,
and not about the emptiness that rippled
through me on Tuesday night.
To turn in my paper on time,
12 font, double-spaced, Times New Roman,
no sarcasm, the professor hates that;
to talk to the girl in the library
with only sarcasm, she prefers that.
To stop taking medicine with vodka,
it only makes things worse;
to waltz into work
with bright eyes and no sign
that I thought of twenty-six
ways to die the night before.
And my red string grew tighter,
weighted with the routines and rules
that I had carved into stone,
and I never realized that I had forgotten
the most important thing:
what it meant to be alive.