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Illustrated Botanical Flowers

Moons Over Cedar Ridge Psychiatric Hospital in Oklahoma of 2014

cw: psychiatric hospitalization, suicidal ideation, psychosis

Third moon of my life­­­­­—

third psychiatric hospitalization

memory staring into my face.

Notebooks filled with messy

cursive, peel back pages.

One poem survives from a

stay of suicidal ideation.

Coloring pictures while a large

man drools from his mouth—

mouth of mine sealed with

shame as the moods slither

across my face like

snakes after hallucinations—

dead mice bleeding from my



Third pills swallowed and


Trees outside the geriatric unit.

Memories fragile

like the champagne flutes from

our wedding.

Vows written by ourselves—

with no mentions of these

future hospitalizations.


The sickness grappling our marriage

like dead fish floating across

my eyes, swallowing white pill

after white pill.


Ten years since the diagnosis—

Peonies ready to bloom in

a silver vase.

Asking My Parents for Forgiveness for My Suicide Attempt

cw: brief description of suicide attempt

Mama cuts hydrangea

blooms placing them in

slim rooters

cistern under the house

sings my fears.


The swallowed sleeping

pills were sky blue

and the hospitalization

wears on my chest

like the pale pink roses

from my wedding.


Do you forgive me for

not answering the phone

in Mississippi spring

golden pollen like shame

coating my throat.


That Easter of mixed episode

resides in my mind like

flies to the carcass

a buzz of mosquitoes in

my brain I cannot flick


My Therapist Reminds Me to Write a Letter to Myself

Shaking out curtains like

standing against currents

the house our desperate relief

from the weathering of wills—

I have seen your will but I still

do not know what you want after


Cold milk touches our daughters’

tongues and I slip into a floral print

dress and smear pink lipstick across

the lips you kissed last night.


My therapist says the depressive

episodes sneak up on me— the last

one seems months ago.

The episodes worm into my brain

even in the brightest sunshine

the awakening of spirits of thoughts

from the greatest silence that now

roars into our bedroom.

The episodes cause me to grovel

before the smallest incidents of

my mind and thoughts rage into

the day.

The owl rushes into the evergreen

and I cannot trust myself to drive


CELESTE SCHUELER was born and raised in Mississippi but now resides in the Pacific Northwest. She has her BA in English and MFA in creative writing from Mississippi University for Women. Most of her poetry and essays stem from living with bipolar disorder and raising her twin daughters. She has been published in FERAL Journal, Stone Circle Review, Rooted Magazine, and MID/SOUTH SONNETS, an anthology from Belle Point Press. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2023. She loves spending time with her spouse and their children, her three-legged dog, and baking bundt cakes when she’s not reading books or writing poems.

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