They Took My Pencils Away: A Prayer

TW…psychiatric hospitalization, suicidal ideation, self harm, the Temple
My doctor asked me to write down warning signs
I wrote “praying”
And he asked me why

I know I haven’t been to the temple in a while
But I’d know these white walls anywhere
A nurse helps me change into a hospital gown
I think I fell asleep standing up

“Welcome sister, can I see your recommend?”
I sign the consent to treatment form.
“In the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost”
The ER doctor takes his hands off my head and sits next to me
“We’re very lucky you didn’t take enough to hurt yourself, but this is clearly a cry for help.”

I look in the mirror at my white jumper
Too baggy to see my breasts through the fabric
My psychiatrists eyes are kind
“In the name of Emily Nicole Wright who is dead”
As he pushes me under the water I see him write “Gender Identity Disorder” on his chart
I try to say something but water fills my mouth.

I sit in the chapel with my scriptures open
Hair still wet from the baptismal font
“I don’t know if you remember Stephanie and I from last year, I’m Dr. Johnson”
I nod silently and they sit across from my bed

The psych ward is always cold
I sit on my window sill staring out at the Salt Lake skyline
The capitol building glows in the night
This is the only place I still pray in

“Dear Heavenly Father
The nurses found the marks on my arm and took away my pencils
We thank you for our many blessings
I banged my head against the wall until they took away my sheets
Please bless that we will travel home safely
Please bless that I won’t be like this tomorrow
Please bless that I won’t wake up”

My psychiatrist asks me to write down warning signs
And I write down “God”


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