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Homegrown Hysteria -- poetry by Madison Taylor

I did not practice self care

I did not draw or read or bullet journal

Or any other pretty thing I've been putting off


People have been saying that

If your friend doesn't text you back now, then they're just bad at communicating

Because no one is busy now

And if you don't pick up those hobbies you've been putting off

You're just lazy and need to stop procrastinating


Solitary confinement is the worst punishment a person can endure

Even animals can't handle being alone too long

Orca whales start to show signs of severe stress

If kept alone too long in captivity

They grind their teeth down against concrete

Scratch their skin against walls


I'm not sure what people did a hundred years ago faced with pandemic

Hysteria and madness misdiagnosed

If I never saw your face on my computer screen

I would see it in the wall too


Let it be known that I tried everything to fill the silence

The house reeks of chocolate cookies and rising yeast at odd hours of the night

Cuttings of plants in jars are growing from the windows unchecked

Yellow wallpaper is pasted up to the walls with liquid starch

I stick it back whenever it peels

And I pace around the apartment

unsatisfied by baking or gardening or any other task

completed alone or indoors


My friends have all dyed their hair, or had a bottle of wine, or made some other temporary change to their realities

You're making a movie

Finished a shot list in a month

Every time I called you'd work with me next to you on the phone


And I am still here on the other end

Until March

Until April

Until May

Until June

Biting nails and grinding teeth with the woman in the wallpaper


Madison Taylor is sixteen and in a suburb thirty minutes north of Chicago. She's an artist and works on glass art and jewelrymaking/metal art. She's also a part of the local fencing club, Crimson Blades. She's been featured in DePaul's best of high school writing anthology and hopes to use writing to speak up about important issues. 


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