Red flannel, cotton, aged 13-14.
I shrug my arms through each sleeve,
Pulling them slowly upwards as they catch on the sleeves of my t-shirt
So that when my hands peek through the other side
Maybe I can pretend I am you.
Maybe I can clench these hems between my tiny fists
And these sleeves can become metal armour
Against those savage blades that tear your gentle skin.
Or maybe my inexplicable need
To wear your shirt
Came from a naive, controlling force within me.
Maybe with this shirt I am the puppet master,
Maybe if I raise my arms in defiance not surrender,
You will too.
Maybe for just a moment,
You could be my vessel
And I could exercise my will.
In this moment I want nothing more than for you to be my marionette,
To dance from the dangers of your own mind towards the avenues that I refuse to believe will be no help
(At least give them a try, I plea,
But the puppeteer would snap you to attention
With a flick of her wrist
And frogmarch you to the helpers' gates).
I finally understand the appeal of Sims,
Cos when someone does something you don't want them to do
You can quit without saving
You can turn off free will and become a God.
I know that when faced with the character creation page
Many would choose to change the way you are
But trust me, the only thing I would alter is this deep and draining pain-
And your resignation towards it.
I'd decrease your exhaustion
And increase your hope,
Give you excess of it.
I shrug off the shirt.
Because you are not a puppet,
I cannot force your hand,
Although I will not stop trying to care for you the only way I know how:
By asking. Begging.
Accept help from those who may hold the answers-
Darling, I know it's not guaranteed,
But nothing in this life is.
It cannot hurt to try.
Even if it were possible,
If you handed me the control bar of this
Despite my longing to force you to care for yourself,
I would always let you choose.
I would cut your strings.
I wrote this poem around a year ago, about a friend suffering from depression. I struggled with the tensions between letting them have free will and intervening for their own safety.