[Major trigger warning: graphic first-person
perspective of a suicide attempt by drowning.
Please call your local crisis hotline if you need to.
(As far as it’s anyone’s business to know, this poem
is completely fictional, and any resemblance to
real people or events is purely coincidental.)]
I’d made a plan, and I thought that I might
finally learn what it’s like to have control
over just one fleeting moment of my life;
the plan would be carried out tonight.
I gathered my thoughts and trudged out
to the pool, alone under a dark moon.
I placed my note on the ground, and
weighed it down with an empty bottle.
I sat at the edge, but when I looked down,
I saw more than the sky I knew last time.
No cars like ants: only astringent water
beneath me, and I was ready to try again.
A river of tears flowed down my face,
painting it silver for the last time
as I carefully tied my feet together
with a brand-new, black shoelace.
Pockets, even shoes filled with rocks,
I slipped into the cold that quickly soaked
through my jeans, soaked me through
to the bone as my hands tried to hold on.
But heavy feet pulled my hands down
from the edge, and my head went under.
Time stopped, along with my breath, as I
sank and began to second guess:
I’d done all my research months before -
I knew the process, I had faith in the plan -
but what if I’d done something wrong?
No, it’s too late to save me, don’t worry.
I counted to ten and then tried to exhale;
squeezing pressure made my chest strain.
A trail of bubbles escaped from my mouth,
back up to the air I’d never breathe again.
I heard my heart screaming for blood.
I sank to the bottom, aflame; but the
screams were drowned out when
my lungs were flooded with chlorine.
Still underwater, I coughed and gasped
involuntarily, just inhaling more poison.
I’d prepared for this part: it hurt so much,
but I’d readied myself for the pain.
My eyes flew open, betraying themselves.
Dwindling bubbles replaced my gasps -
weighted feet uselessly held to the floor -
pulse failing, stars flashing, head bursting.
The cold, toxic water burned ever more.
I ignored my own cries; I was determined.
Searing pain in my body, brain deprived
of oxygen, my senses began to fade.
Was this finally it? Would I set myself free?
No room could be made for more thoughts
in my mind. I just waited quietly for the
moment I’d feel at peace for the first time.
Peace, if only for a moment:
after my heart had burst, and my lungs
caved in, I thought my brain might finally
take pity, have mercy, let me die.
But before that could happen,
my head broke the surface.
Suddenly, I was heaving up gallons;
not quite alive, but not yet unconscious.
My flailing hands splashed above me,
and my feet kicked freely below me -
the string must have broken or slipped off
somehow. How stupid I was to rely on it!
I vomited water for an eternity. But then
I coughed, and then I breathed, and I
dragged myself out, weighed down by
exhaustion and sheer disappointment.
Laying flat on the rough, wet concrete,
while my waterlogged, backstabbing feet
still swung in the pool as if gloating -
mocking me - I cried tears of chlorine.
I laid there all night until, with shaky legs,
I lifted my heavy body and stood;
and then slowly, in pain, I dripped
all the way back to my bed.
Every breath burned, and my veins
had nearly cracked with effort.
I reached into a drawer and grabbed
another bottle of bottom-shelf beer.
By morning, I knew I had to appear as if
nothing had happened, so silently, I got
ready for school. I told my parents I was
sick; my bus driver thought I had pink-eye.
At lunchtime, I tore up my note
into a thousand tiny pieces; then
I flushed every one of them, each one
down a different toilet.
How fitting, I thought bitterly, that my note
would be rent apart by the same cold
water that viciously refused me the peace
which I had so desperately sought.
What had my plan overlooked? Was I too
careless? Had the knot been too loose?
Next time, I decided, I’d see how well my
body fought a river, and be done with it.
[I understand this poem might get taken
down due to its content. I hope it doesn’t,
though, because I needed to share it. My
poem does not in any way encourage self-
harm or suicide, and I think it could even
end up helping someone by showing them
that they aren’t alone.]