Tableau Vivant

(Content warning: Mental illness)

Sadness has a certain scent to it,
invisible to the ignorant.
If it were a candle, then
the flame would be an act of self-denial,
pronouncing itself only 
as hurt 
or lonely 
or heartbroken.

I am no artist;
I choose to work 
with words over oils
but allow me to paint you 
a most vivid picture:

              dirty dish castles topple
              beer bottles and bowls
              chipped and weary victims
              which lie forgotten 
              wearing last month’s pasta

              overflowing ashtrays
              sprinkle flakes on dirty sheets
              tossed amongst clean comrades
              sheets soaked with body musk,
              with blood from sharpened sins

              sour milk
              soft carrots 
              soggy cheese
              stale everything
              and someone else's happiness
              waft from the broken fridge 
              to the catatonic body
              in the bedroom
              waiting to be spoon fed
              the next dose of emotional regression

              “ONE capsule TWICE daily” 
              “THREE in the morning” 
              “TWO tablets pro re nata”

              losing yourself is found 
              in bottles far too small for alcohol


              the closest thing to toothpaste
              is those tablets.
              tasting faintly of mint
              they stick to the sides 
              of the throat like the kind of clag
              used by kindergarteners to immortalise
              the latest craft project
              or poorly repair the tears
              in the only family photograph 
              where we all smiled,
              a picture that tastes like salt
              from the tears which coursed
              and were caught along 
              os lamina papyrecea 

Imagine: a divine being designs
a grooved bone to prevent 
humans drowning in their own tears.

Can you smell it yet? 

︎Together with her entourage of neuroses, Rosie Bogumil writes unapologetically about her experiences of trauma and mental illness. When she's not writing, studying or asleep, Rosie can usually be found in a yoga inversion, exploring the viability of a career as a bat – in case the whole poet thing falls through. You can find more of her work on Facebook and Instagram @byrosiebee︎