Léa Taranto | LOST

*Content warning: mental illness, suicide

we promised each other we wouldn’t

But you’d told me long ago you never planned to live past 30
But you didn’t even get to be 30
But while you’d always wanted children, I didn’t, that hurt you
But as a child in elementary school, they labelled you “delinquent”
But as a teen, being a dropout made you “badass”
But that’s why we met in treatment
But if I’d never met you, I’d still be there
But if you’d never met me, maybe you’d still be here
But maybe it was just here, Vancouver, that was the catalyst
But for schizophrenia relapse is the expectation not the exception
But you made an exception to your No Shrink rule when I begged you
But you managed your anger and the pot and the drinking with meth, until you didn’t
But you met people at work who hooked you up
But you wanted to find purpose in your career and erase trauma
But cleaning up crime scenes meant scrubbing bloodstains, scooping brains
But the only psych service your job provided was a walk-in clinic
But the on-call shrink gave you a prescription and sent you out
But when we went out you worried people would break into our home
But when you went out you worried people would hurt me
But my compulsions hurt us both so sometimes work was your escape
But when you left work an hour in to check my safety, you never went back
But you wanted to, after a month or so of rehab
But rehab would have been at least six grand, and we didn’t have that
But I said we’d find a way
But then we weren’t a we
But on the phone and texting, I’d have to remind myself not to call you husband
But you were happy to be back in your tiny hometown
But you loved hunting and the woods, so no one thought you were missing
But then forty-eight hours went by, and they got helicopters and dog teams
But maybe you’d just gotten lost

in a dream I’d had when we moved in together, I was a superspy, I couldn’t talk about my
missions because it might endanger you or our daughter
she had my long, dark curls
your stormy sea eyes


Léa Taranto (she/her) is a Chinese Jewish Canadian writer who lives with life-threatening OCD and comorbid disorders. She is an MFA student at UBC, alum from SFU’s The Writer’s Studio, and member of PRISM international’s poetry editorial board. She lives on the traditional, unceded land of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Halkomelem) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) speaking peoples in British Columbia. Find Léa on Twitter: @LeaTaranto, and Instagram: @LeaTarantoWrites.