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Christina Bagni

Christina Bagni’s creative work has been published in Divot Lit, Lit202, and Underground Literary Magazine, among others. She is the Chief Editor at Wandering Words Media and a writer on the Captain Bitcoin comic book series. Her first novel is forthcoming with Deep Hearts YA (2023). 

Cure My Depression

I was 14

When my boyfriend told me

I cured his depression.

He meant it

Dead serious

Everything, back then,

Was dead serious.

He told me he had depression for eight years

But I made him happy.

And because I was used to finding my self-worth

Through other people’s eyes 

This made me happy too.


“You make me smile,” he texted me

And sent a smiley face.

I doodled hearts in the margins

On the backs of my hands.

I had done something good

By just existing.

He loved me

For just existing.

I made him happy

For just existing.

And that kind of unconditional love

Was unfamiliar.

So I clung to it

Like he clung to me.

It was so easy

To make him want to be alive.


I was 15

When my boyfriend said

“If you break up with me

I will kill myself.” 

This had also happened to me at 13, with another boy

And would happen to me again at 19,

When I’d run through the snow in pajamas to the dorm across campus

Not worried, but angry

That it had happened to me again.

But this time, the second time.

I was 15, and I wasn’t going to

Get trapped into another few months of dating again

Under the threat of a knife 

Pressed to another person’s throat.

So I told the guidance counselor

Who called him down to the office.

She called me down later

And told me that since he was 18

She couldn’t call his parents

Or force him to go to therapy.

She asked him if he wanted help

And he said no. 

She told me that was all she could do.


“Thank you,” he texted me later. “For looking out for me

But I’m still going to do it.

I can’t live without you.

I don’t want to live without you. 

I need you in my life

Or life isn’t worth living.”

And these were words that once felt utterly romantic,

Phantom of the Opera, Twilight, Jane Eyre, desperation

But now they reached out of my phone

Like his too-sweaty fingers to close around my useless voice.

And I knew

That guidance would do nothing

And the police would do nothing

And if I told his parents he’d do it quicker.

So I did what I had to do.


“Maybe we can try again,” I texted him.

“Maybe we can find some way to make this work.”

“Are you sure?” he replies. “I don’t want to do this if you’re not sure. I can’t take another rejection…another heartbreak. I really can’t.”

“I’m sure.” 

No reply.

“I miss you,” I add.

He sends back a smiley face.

And I make him smile

By doing nothing.

I doodle jail bars in the margins

In my forearms

Anything I have to do

To keep him alive.


i go in soon to a third therapist

to see if ptsd needs to be added to the list.

is it really assault if it wasn’t rape?

is it really abuse if i wasn’t hit? 

is it really ptsd if i wasn’t in the military?

am i weakening those words, or widening their definitions?

is my pain valid?

please, somebody, is my pain dark enough to use these labels?


is it really anxiety if i don’t take any medication?

is it really depression if i can get out of bed?

Half the Reason

The more you read the less you write

You sit at blank pages paralyzed 

Because everything’s been done before

And you’re absolutely right

Everything’s been done before

But nothing’s been done by you.


I can see the gears turning right behind

The bluest blue eyes you’ll ever see in your life

But you sit and you worry

About character and plot

And will anything you ever do

Ever be enough


And I’m like half the reason that kid Josh Dennon went crazy

And you’ll never guess why.

I’m like half the reason that kid Josh Dennon from high school went crazy

And you’ll never, never, never guess why.


My mom didn’t know how to cook

And my dad didn’t know how to do anything

So I had to learn it all in college

Like an asshole, putting dryer sheets in the washing machine


And they’ve never figured out why I’m a loser

And I’ve never figured out why I care what they think

So I’m begging you to write me a long book

And I’m begging you to mix me a nice strong drink


And I’m like half the reason that girl Mariah got married

And you’ll never guess why.

I’m like half the reason that girl Mariah from high school got married

And you’ll never, never, never guess why.


I’m aging my anger in bottles inside

Like the finest wine your stock market money can buy

Your words and mine intertwine 

Like the bars on your bed

Your fingers hard, cold as ice

Like you’re already dead


And I’m like half the reason my ex Rebecca drinks daily

Yeah, and you’ll never guess why

I’m a hundred percent the reason my ex Rebecca from high school fucking hates me

And you’ll never guess why

You’ll never, never, never guess why

You Are

You are the first burst of brilliant forsythia

You are fizzing rice krispies in chocolate milk

You are the first warm day of the year.

You are a soft warm sweater, cream and light brown.

You are warm coffee in a hand-fitting mug

You are a wood nymph.

You are a burst of kiwi and strawberry.

You are an early morning in Helsinki.

You are an overcast, foggy night in deep summer.

You are my favorite, sharpest pencil.

You are a gentle hand on a polished railing.

You are a crisp salad with berries and figs.

You are hiking boots on a Thursday morning.

You are pigtail braids.

You are an interrobang.

You are lemondrops and iced tea.

You are a good stretch while still in bed.

You are my love. 

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