Edited by MANDY PANNETT
Published by SPM Publications
in association with Excel for Charity in aid of The Psychiatry Research Trust
I don't ask you to unbutton the sleeves
of your smart work shirt
to show me the cuts
because I believe you.
You tell me you typed 'suicide'
into Google again last night,
tell me about the website that came up
and I nod as though I don't know exactly
which one you mean.
I know it wasn't methods that work
but the solace of those voices
clamouring across the pages
for help amongst the helpless.
On the way into work, my train flies past
the bridge I know you go to.
In the morning glow, a crow perched on the railing,
it doesn't hold the same poignant splendour
I know it holds for you
at four a.m after the wine, the cider, the gin.
I know when you're up there
there's a certainty to the smooth flat concrete
below. That just grasping the cool steel
of the railing, toying
with that quivering possibility
is all the release that cutting
no longer gives.
I'm meant to be the one who manages this risk
but I don't
because I know that's not why you go there.
Instead, I up your antidepressants
so it looks like I did something.
As I write the prescription,
you recall a time when you were little,
the judder of the car across the Forth Road Bridge
the sparkle of South Queensferry
across the still black water
and the sudden horror
of seeing a man let go and drop
into the unglimmering depths,
flashing blue lights arriving seconds too late.
'Sometimes people just don't want to live anymore'
your dad tried to explain from the front
but he was driving, hadn't seen
what you had;
the sickening courage
of that hand
letting go of the rail.
© Penny Shutt
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