I’ve been trying to write about happiness
for weeks now, but every time I open
my notebook, the words don’t feel right.
It’s not like I’m unfamiliar
with happiness, but
I’ve never been able to capture it,
hold it down, shove it inside
for later, when I need it.
I need happiness so much these days.
Everyone does. On my lunch breaks,
I wander the library, my breath smelling
of protein bars and diet Coke. I’ve blundered
into the psychology section more
than once, reading the one-word titles
of the dusty books: Anger. Love. Crying.
There’s this misconception
that people with depression never feel
happiness. We do, of course, but it’s
briefer than what I imagine is normal
and somehow all the better
for that. It’s as elusive as
the linger of cologne
along your collarbone. It’s as quiet
as a sunlit sky.
We keep chasing happiness. I practice
saying we instead of I,
tying myself so firmly to
the world that there is no chance
of my ever letting go. I doodle
in my notes, endless, firmly
written sequences, we, everyone,
we, us, yes, everyone chasing
after joy as if it were not
something that would appear
anyway, inescapably and when
we least expect it, like birds
returning in the spring.