C₁₀H₁₂N₂O: Ode to Serotonin

The therapist said you need sertraline.

Generic brand is still more

than you can afford. You cough up the tens anyways,

dropping them from fingers overworked

To the bone, nails chewed to skin

Near cerulean capsules quiet the hot static

Pulses, obsessive thoughts

Brain always switched on

like the flickering bathroom bulb your mother stands under

as she scrubs her hands raw. You wonder if they are sticky

like the candy-coated words she pours

from her lips or the slick lies she has been told.


The therapist said you need sertraline.

He said you have your father’s

eyes, as though your honey browns

are covering up his icy blues.

The man with the prescription pad

Stares at you and says that you are not whole.

He thinks your fizzy chaos is more

like your father’s live wire

Than your mother’s high tide.


Your brain quiets more in the silence

Than under the influence

of a licensed dealer like him.

You still look in the mirror

and you take the pills to hide

the blue underneath

your irises.


Dakota Delk

Dakota Delk is a Secondary English Education major at Cumberland University and a past editor of Novus. Her writing typically focuses on her personal experience with physical and mental health, family, and relationships. When she is not in a classroom, she can be found working in her university's writing center, reading, watching Netflix, or taking a nap.

NOVUS Literary and Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN