i am afloat and barely breathing:
the mask pickles the air i inhale
i exhale and smoke appears under
my eyes. deflate me. punctuate my
starving lungs as i scrabble to
concentrate. my smile is crowded.
call me the worm in the basilisk
dress. turn me back or turn me to
ash in a therapist’s chair. my genes
are ripped on the knee from falling
over my own marching feet. i am not
a medical death. i’m not going i’m
not going not back to bed. i don’t
care what the unholy spectre behind
my eyes preaches - she is not him and
he is not me and i am not my own god:
he chants in chorus murder against
vacant eyes. he begs for the plastic
happiness mentioned by all but never
swallowed. the sun is setting over the
rainbow and my fingernails still tap.
i do not sink until the chords snap.
Ryan Bryce (they/them) is a BA (Hons) Creative Writing and English Literature graduate in their mid-twenties, currently training on the PGCE Further Education and Skills Sector course as an English and Creative Writing college lecturer. They live with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and dyspraxia.
Alumni student Deividas's illustrations bring you into another world. Like many other people speaking a second language with dyslexia he has found that communicating with images can be easier than grasping the right words.