TW: Self-harm, anxiety, depression, suicide
Note: In the Zodiac, Capricorn is half goat, and half fish. This is important.
Note 2: Last year I dated someone with anxiety and depression, and broke up with him for reasons that were not about his mental illness. Afterwards, someone who I am not friends with anymore told me that if he killed himself, #nataliesfault would be carved into his grave stone. This poem is sort of response to this incident but also more than that.
This time we screamed too loud and the angels have come, white uniformed, halos aglow. What’s the problem, they ask, and I don’t know what to say. The problem? Where do I even start. There’s glass on the floor and a hand clutched around a knife. Capricorn is in the kitchen and his fish half is still flopping on the floor. His fish half is a half. Do you understand me? His scales are wet and slippery and it isn’t from the fish tank. There’s another goat here, this one has a knife in its heart and a chainsaw to its legs. There’s a sewing kit out, thick surgeon’s cord threaded through.
Last year, Capricorn said I think I need to see a shrink. I said Okay, yes, what for. Capricorn said I think I’m crazy. And I couldn’t say no, you’re not babe, what you are is lazy. You tell me you have work to do and you sit in front of your computer but when I look over you’re playing DOTA instead. Capricorn said I’ve got anxiety. I said why, your life is great, you got the money and the brains. Capricorn said Have you seen me? I’m a fucking sea goat. At least the Merlion can roar at the haters, I can only baaaaaah.
I said, well, then, if you’re so useless what the fuck am I doing with you. Capricorn said I don’t know. I wanted to throw something at him because I don’t know how many more times I can have this conversation but I can’t, because what Capricon is really saying is do you know how hard it is to be a role model for all the sea goats? No, I don’t. I’m from the majority, remember? Two legs. Ariel gave up her tail to be like me. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I’ll never be a role model when I’m always expected to get there. We don’t tell each other this, but we think very little of each other’s problems.
Capricorn said It’s cold amongst the stars. I used to say – well I’m here to keep you warm, but these days I just nod and buy him a new jacket. I have learnt that no one can give another person their place, but Capricorn has not. Had not.
He called me over, like he called me last night, and the previous night, and the night before. I told him he needed to stop, that we were over, but he said that I was the only one who picked up, at least sometimes. I pick up because Sagittarius shot himself with an arrow a year ago, but I don’t pick up other times because there are days when I don’t want to be the one to pick up. I run out of voice and feelings to give too. If it’s my fault he’s dead, where was everyone else with their haloes and wings those nights when the phone kept ringing?
But the stars will stay. The angels will fly home. Tomorrow night we still need a Capricorn to hang in the sky, so we’ll be looking for his replacement light before the night is out. Like Sagittarius, his death is a tragedy, an accident, a suicide, a murder. And our prints are the ones on the knife.