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.
like the champagne flutes from
Vows written by ourselves—
with no mentions of these
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
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 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.