2022 Poetry Collection

Pantone 9561 C

hi mama,

please don’t freak out

i want to start by saying I’m okay.

i’m texting you from _________ 





that sounds like A Lot,

and it is.

i know you’re worrying already—

i can hear the weight of your sigh ripple

across the few oceans, mountain ranges

and timezones that separate us

you would never believe what they have me wearing.

a pale green gown (whose colour you’d say reminds you

of hateful women and vomit-stained tablecloths)

and these weird padded socks like the ones

i wore that one time we went to the trampoline park

a few years ago

do you remember? anyway, i know you’re worried

and angry and whatnot but so am I

ma, I was tempted to tell you the diluted version:

that i ended up here for a panic attack; but

i imagine you’d be upset with me for not taking 

care of myself well enough

all the way in Canada? but will you be fine?

instead, what if i told you

that yesterday, on one of the greyest days of November, 

I was seduced by a bottle of SSRIs?

that i let exactly f o u r t e e n of them explore 

the pinkness of my insides 

because it seemed easier than figuring out

the tangled shitshow of cheap wire that my emotions had become?

don’t worry. the ER nurses have been sweet enough

(although being hooked up to an ECG is no fun)

and you’re going to ask did your friends come?

yes, they brought me A Collection of Short Stories by Charlotte 



(ha, maybe life really does imitate art)

and my toothbrush

which the psych ward nurses took away from me 

(this made me laugh—

what good a weapon is a toothbrush?)

but anyway, the psychiatrist is coming to see me soon

and i thought i’d update you before i see her.

if i’m lucky they’ll let me leave today

with a note of please do not attempt this again

and we’ve upped your dosage

and we strongly suggest you enrol in this online therapy module

we shouldn’t have sent her so far away

i know you just woke up so reading this will be 

A Lot

are the dogs okay? tell them i miss them

i’ll call you when i’m home and tell you

what the doctor says. hopefully she’s not 

as less cloudy than the psych ward nurses are

khudahafiz, ma

i wish you were here right now. 

Shanai Tanwar (she/her) is an undergraduate student double majoring in psychology and English literature at the University of British Columbia. Born to Indian parents and raised in Dubai, she interned with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and Cosmopolitan Middle East before working as an Editorial Assistant for Canadian Literature, UBC’s scholarly journal. When she isn’t petting dogs around campus, you can find her reading Victorian fiction or writing for The Ubyssey.

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