Directions for Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts by Lauren WB Vermette

Directions for Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts

Pick up a shaker; no, not that one.
The one filled with salt. Retrieve it

from the kitchen, your dining table,
a tv-tray. Hold it to your ear and tip

it back and forth— notice the pulse
against your ear drum, a brief sigh

and a thump, sigh and thump.
Feel the weight of the grains

as they drop from top to bottom.
Count each one as it descends.

This moment is the present,
and you are shaking salt

to remind yourself
that you are still here.

by Lauren WB Vermette

Editor’s note: Allegory is a most useful technique, and this poem makes excellent use of it.