Sparrow’s Medication Guide

Do not give your worries to other people, even if they have the same condition. It may harm them. Keep them in your mouth, a list under your tongue. Choose a water-soluble paper, flavored ink, let them coat your dry mouth, slide down your throat before you speak.

Tell your doctor if you taste feathers where you shouldn’t, if your shoulder blades hurt from the imperative of wings. Tell your doctor if you experience any unusual birdness of body: an abnormally fast heartbeat, flitting muscle movement, a hollowness of bones. Tell your doctor if the air around you is suddenly sweeter than anything you have ever experienced—sweeter than your first kiss with the first girl you whole-heartedly loved, sweeter than five-year-old fingers sticky with spun sugar, sweeter than the last day you woke up feeling alive. Tell your doctor if you dream of flight.

It is normal to experience side effects. To feel warfare in your blood. Remind yourself that this is for the better. That you are getting better. Write it on your skin in pastel purple, in the softest of ink. Read yourself with care. Remind yourself again. Remind yourself each time your worries are refilled.

Poem borrows language from a medication guide for sertraline hydrochloride. The second stanzagraph features a line from “Ordeal” by Nina Cassian.

© 2019 by Jordan McNeil

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