The Night Before Prozac by Susan Cossette

The Night Before Prozac

The amber bottle of green and white capsules
waits in the plastic pharmacy bin,
for three days now.

The strap of muscles clenched around my ribs,
The nausea and stomach churn tell me it is time.
My pulse pounds
go, go, go.

At 3 am, I will think of the perfect things I should have said at work but didn’t.
I will regret the things I said but said anyway.
I will imagine every way I could possibly die.

CNN reports a 50% increase in the number of liver transplants needed
due to pandemic binge drinking.
I cringe at the dozen empty wine bottles
in the kitchen trash.
So many colors, each with its own mood.
The good pinot grigios remind me I overspend.
The cheap ones scream of bored desperation.

In 1999, I crawled into bed for a month.
Nothing existed but the lace curtains, the damp sheets,
a toddler and his grandmother in the next room.
All it took was a pill to wind me up again–
a blank-gazed cipher in pink gingham,
contorted limbs, stiff painted smile.

At 3 am, I will worry I won’t write another poem again.
But I need to sleep and smile and do my job,
the one I waited my whole life for.
I have bills to pay.

The amber plastic bottle waits.


Susan Cossette lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Author of Peggy Sue Messed Up, she is a recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust and Moth, Vita Brevis, ONE ART, As it Ought to Be, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Amethyst Review, Crow & Cross Keys, Loch Raven Review, and in the anthologies Tuesdays at Curley’s and After the Equinox.

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