happy, black eyes wet and bright like a deep cut welling up but she doesn’t cry, i never saw her cry at least. maybe it’s the expectation that comes with that name. happy with the big red knit coat. happy with the big laugh and you almost always see her teeth. i was fifteen when i met her. happy making peach tea she hides behind the fruit bowl so no one else can get at it. happy, hair in braids. happy’s voice that balloon-swells-up so you almost know without her telling you that her mother was a famous singer once. happy draws big eyes and mouths and teeth, only gets acid from people-you-can-trust, happy swallowing fifty advil? impossible. she only gets these bad stomachaches though, she says. never see her cry just laughs and laughs. ‘have you ever felt more suicidal,’ says happy, and ‘no,’ i say, and we laugh at that, too. happy, seventeen, happy making lists of the good drugs and the bad ones, and prozac’s not on the list, and cocaine’s pretty funny until your friends do it, happy laugh laugh laughing.


Happy and I laugh about her name. When I met Happy my hands were shaking on the table. She wore a big, red knit coat. Happy’s hair in many tiny black braids. Happy laughing at me when I fall out of my chair on purpose again, bruise my arms. I looked in Happy’s red notebook when she left and day one it said the people here are crazy and their hands shake. Happy makes up a song to annoy the nurses. Happy has a big laugh, a big voice, can you tell her mother was a famous singer once? Happy says only get acid from people you can trust. Happy asks what is so bad about methamphetamine? Happy makes a list of the good drugs and the bad ones. Happy hides her favorite peach tea so no one else can have it. Happy took fifty round red Advil and told the ambulance they got the wrong address. Happy’s mom buys her a pen that looks like a pill and they laugh. Happy asks have you ever felt more suicidal? and I say no and we laugh and laugh. Happy draws big lips, black tongues, and broken teeth. Happy’s going home. Happy gives me a goodbye note with her phone number written on the back. Hello Happy, how are you? I hope you’re feeling better today. I would call you but I try and try and I can’t think of one thing to say.

2 iterations of a poem about happy.