I had a roommate named Sadie* (the girl of the mountains, aka ping-pong extraordinaire)

Crafting dark fairy tales out of the air

(of blood feet glass slippers love broken eyes dreams yellow hair beans and hope and hope and hope and hope and hope and hope)

My childhood memories would never be the same.

We talk parallel universes and black holes, quantum physics and time travel, paradoxes and the nature of fire. We travel the universes in our minds while our bodies are confined to an 11 x 12 room.

Then I ask her if she is glad she didn’t die.

She asks me if I am glad I didn’t die.

It’s been two days.

It’s been two lifetimes.

I think I already love her.

I think I am getting too invested.


In herself, she sees panic attacks, abyss, pills, and her mother’s glare.

I see twinkle lights, happy socks, paint splatters, and riding in the back of pickup trucks to Mexican estates in the summer.

In me, she sees my mother’s heart, articles that shook the world, and a cat named Charlie.

I see myself calling 911 at 8:21 p.m. Wednesday.

(Can you love others without loving yourself?

Of course…

you can.)

She says the thing about fairy tales

is that there are no happy endings.

She says that “choose happy” and “positive vibes only” are bullshit for people like us, diagnosed as forever diseased because we are the only ones who can see the sky fall, and, even through her tears when her family won’t look her in the eyes,

she says that we will be okay.

She says that she already loves me.

She says that I am poetry.

I say I will write about her.

She says it is okay to feel, that all poetry comes in explosions and not spreadsheets

and something in me lifts


takes flight

beyond the hospital’s locked doors.

I had a roommate named Sadie.

She wants to pet another dog and run through another field of daisies.

I want to breathe another sun ray and touch the snow again.

She believes in aliens, and plants, and sometimes in second chances—

and in me.

She is alive, and so am I.

I know this changes everything.


*This name has been changed for privacy.

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