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I Will Not Carry a Country


Papa says, where we come from,

no one has the luxury of self-loathing

—they are too busy rising from rubble

& building castles with what lies in the streets.

He looks at me like I am an orphan

Mama found swaddled in rags on the doorstep

one morning. He asks how this miserable

creature with so much to live for

could choose to wash her cheeks with tears,

& clear her throat with screams.

Mama says, “Girl,

you are like a rubber band.

You can stretch as far as you’d like to.”

I’ve come to learn

that, stretched too far,

a rubber band will snap.

I’ve come to learn

that when I rupture,

I become shrapnel,

marring the faces of those around me

with wounded disgust.


I dream of a place

where no one knows my name,

where I am not beckoned like a pet,

who knows a trick

to make their master’s mouth curl into a grin,

where no one expects

a clever remark or even a smile

—where people are more indifferent

toward me than towards

a loose stone in their path.

How kind it would be to be kicked to the curb,

& left to lie in the dust,

where no one can try to reassemble me

into something I have no interest in becoming,

where I can be free

of the burdensome load

of carrying a country,


and history

on my back.

I will carry my fair share,

but I can’t carry it all.

And I am free to create

my own place with my own rules,

separate from what

has been handed down to me.


(Cover art for this poem by Frank Morrison)

Confront Depression, Anxiety, Grief, and Loss through Poetry

Are the usual depression books helping you find a path to healing? No? Try this poetry collection especially for those dealing with mental illness and for people closest to them.

Create hope for the future. Paloma is faking it. On the outside, she’s A-Okay. She’s electrified at work, there is a cadence in her step as she walks her dog, she posts memes on Facebook, and she keeps up with most relationships. Looks can be deceiving, however. Inside, Paloma is just going through the motions, and she feels like things are spiraling out of control. But when things are at their darkest, dawn arrives with clarity and focus, and with it, healing. Paloma learns to value small glimmering moments of joy rather than searching for constant happiness, thus building hope for her future.

A manifesto for life. Happy, Okay?: Poems about Anxiety, Depression, Hope, and Survival is not simply a narrative spun in verse by a masterful poet. It is an invitation to readers to shake off the stigma and silence of mental illness and find strength in the only voice that matters: your own. It can be an electric roadmap to healing and a manifesto for wholeness.

In this inspiring and heartwarming book, you will:

  • Understand how to make happiness a decision, even when you don’t feel it in your bones

  • Find out how to exercise patience and self-acceptance

  • Attract hope and purpose back into your life

Fans of Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One by Amanda Lovelace, Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim, Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn, or Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley will love Happy, Okay? by M.J. Fievre.


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