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the poem you did not write for me i wrote for myself
Catherine Weiss


five years ago my dog ate eleven
large buttons off a tufted bedroll
she threw them up six months later
no explanation
around that time
my therapist told me to start a scrapbook
she said it would help remind me
life is worth living
being depressed
i didn’t have anything appropriate
to put in a scrapbook
can you see where this is going?
so every time i’d open this adorable little album
i’d be confronted with eleven upholstered
vomit buttons looking out at me
behold! these objects
marinated in dog-stomach for half a year
prettied up with stickers and
craft glue and a cute layout
every time i’d be like
i have this way of forgetting how much
myself and i get along
i have never been effortlessly anything
and i hate myself for trying
love myself for the hunger
hate the humiliation
love the persistence
i don’t need your poems about
falling in love with me
it may seem unlikely but
i already love me more than you ever could
more than i'd ever even want you to
more than would be altogether
comfortable for either of us
i have built this affection for myself
out of the splintered
bones of all the people
i didn't grow up to be
the artist, architect, astrobiologist
the woman whose dog is well-behaved
sometimes loving myself can look like
repurposed garbage
but i'll take it
i'll write that trash heap a poem
because any day i feel joyful
is a day that i am me
i think i understand the allure
of eating cushion buttons
or at least the need to pull on
whatever hangs by a thread
until every good choice unravels
in my hands
these hands are mine
and i cherish them for it
the scrapbook seems to be working
i'm still kicking around
laughing at my own jokes
you don't write me poetry
and that's fine
not everybody has a way with words
though i'd be lying if i said
i never wish you'd write about me
but maybe in your poem
i'd look like somebody else
and lovable
in your poem
i wouldn't survive

Catherine Weiss is a poet and illustrator based in Western MA. She has been published in such places as Voicemail Poems, Gravel Mag, and Jersey Devil Press. More about Catherine can be found at