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  You could have a big dipper   

A Poem by Lindsey Heatherly

CW: Mental Health

I know I am unwell when I wander aimlessly around the Dollar General on a Saturday night

and notice the dusty air vent in the ceiling. The floor feels slanted, off-kilter. I move my wallet from under my arm to my back pocket for balance, grab blueberry donuts from the shelf. They remind me of the donut holes we used to buy, a twenty-five count from Dunkin Donuts, the pink countertops in the house I bought when I was nineteen (always tell them you were nineteen because this will impress them, lead them to believe this college dropout had promise), and we took that photo with the sofa I found at the furniture warehouse next to the hardware store. Remember, I thought I was fat, that blue t-shirt, your shaggy auburn hair, my distorted smile recorded through the camera. The heaviness in that house, in my heart, in your hand after you punched a hole in our bedroom wall. Maybe I deserved it (I did, deserve it). White dust fell to the carpet, and the vacuum never quite sucked it all away. The edges of the air vent in the ceiling are the color of rust. The color of the coffee can on the shelf reminds me. My arms are heavy with these things, the donuts, the coffee, this grief. The card reader shuts down twice at checkout. The clerk shakes her head, says it’s not my fault. Tells me this happens three times a day. I tell her it’s okay, I shut down three times a day too (only three?). And we laugh.


Lindsey is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominated writer with work in X-R-A-Y, Pithead Chapel, Emrys Journal Online and more. She is the author of poetry chapbook GOLDEN HOUR MINUS THE GLOW (Between Shadows Press, 2021) and lives with her daughter in Upstate South Carolina. Find her online at or on Twitter: @rydanmardsey.

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