A Poem: i am not okay by Juliette van der Molen

A Poem: i am not okay by Juliette van der Molen

i am not okay


my brain nestles in the cranial floor
cerebellum tucked, kissing occipital.
the back of my head cradled
by down, fluffy duck undersides
that never knew what they were
for, certainly not my comfort,
but i am resting now because
i can do nothing else.

the blood is thin, glucose plunged
like a carnival ride, slippery
running through blue veins
beneath translucent skin and i
feel thin, too, my legs covered
in a patchwork of black & green
squares where the roses don’t
have thorns and someone’s stitched,
‘i love you more.’

my eyes are lighter than the delft
blue paint on porcelain, the whites
just as fair. i blink but can’t cast
away the milky film, a permanent
fog. no, i can’t even see you.
so i just lift my fingers, and they
tremble, so delicate, do you see?
to touch you before my hand falls
like lead back into the swallow
of this nesting bed.

you’re pushing spoonfuls of sugar
now, that feel like sand i can’t wet
enough to swallow. my lips are pale
and stretched open, then mashed closed
again. but i don’t want this. my brain is
fog and i am thinner than i’ve ever been,
skin clinging to me in desperation,
pale freckles fading. in this moment
where life might slip me into oblivion,
i feel beautiful.

but, i am not okay.

Author Notes

This poem is taken from my chapbook in progress In Case You Missed It: I am not okay. The poetry in this chapbook explores the reality of the body and the impossible or sometimes dangerous standards of beauty and femininity that are placed on us by society. These ideals are at the heart of a patriarchal objectification that is carefully protected and empowered in order to keep women in their ‘rightful places’. It should also be noted that being steeped in the oppressive language of these standards has shaped a narrative that women feel unconsciously duty bound to uphold. These poems seek to uncover my own experience in dealing with judgements about my physicality both from external opinions of others and my own internal thoughts. Through this work I am seeking my own path to self-acceptance and love, while re-defining what beauty means to me.