- A Mannequin and Bleached Bones by Theodore McDowell
This work has reached the exceptional level
The suffering of mental illness and suicide
A Mannequin and Bleached Bones by Theodore McDowell
Free-style poem: human suffering writing prompt entry
Artwork by Renate-Bertodi at

I watch myself
                        oddly separate
from myself,
one-part plastic mannequin,
                        the other bleached bones,
            the denied death-decayed
child left behind unretrievable
                        like a waterskin
on an ancient family battlefield.
The synthetic part of me
            with cauterized
                        nerve endings
            grips a shiny brass doorknob
locked on the other side,
crinkles paper into a ball
that can’t bounce.
            I laugh,
                        500 miles away
            from my body,
 at the weather channel
as if 72 degrees
was a sitcom.
Shoes without laces shuffle
a tile hallway,
liquid thoughts of suicide
                        my mind,
lake water
                        through a fisherman’s net.                 
Hot carbon monoxide
silently ramrods
                        into my lungs.
In the hospital,
            I eat a croissant for breakfast,
trying to swallow
                        the crescent moon,
trying to devour
                                    the emptiness
between myself
                        and myself.


Writing Prompt
The topic for this contest is: Human suffering.


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