I still get flashbacks.
The insecure teen
With a broken heart
And a hospital bracelet.
Lending a clean shirt.
It had been washed and folded
By his broken-hearted mother.
The stacks of coloring sheets
In the corner of a barren room,
Our makeshift “Museum” of who
Had once been enclosed in these same walls.
The walls a pregant teenager banged her head in hopes
To get the voices out. Crayons and markers begin to go missing
Food utensils monitored.
Did I really belong here? Did I really deserve to have my emotional
And phsyical freedom completely stripped from me?
They might as well have handcuffed and chained me.
Except in prison, you can point out where you went wrong.
In prison, you can retrace your steps.
In prison, you can find solitude.
Not here.
Here between the concrete walls, your mind creates their own.
3 times a day, the nurse calls your name and forces a pill down your throat
As if this life hasn’t been hard enough to swallow.
Serotonin reuptake inhibitors, to cure suicidal teenagers.
Hospital scrubs, to decipher “patient” and staff.
Segregated rooms, to prevent violence.
Strict schedules, to keep the peace.
No sharp objects.
No cell phones.
No touching.
No lights on after 10.
Welcome to Smokey Point.

Flora Lister is a teenager from Orcas Island, who has been diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety. This poem reflects her time spent in the Smoke Point Behavioral Hospital.