Please Do Not Disturb Your Loved Ones: “DND” by poet Ketty Joe

Please Do Not Disturb Your Loved Ones: “DND” by poet Ketty Joe
Photo: Ketty Joe.

House of Abundance Poetry’s four-year anniversary event fell in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In absence of the physical gathering of this mighty community, ALL ARTS partnered with House of Abundance Poetry (HOA) and introduced an ongoing series with a single-word prompt for each writer: quarantine.

Collective member Ketty Joe is a Brooklyn-raised writer, podcaster and mental health advocate. She has been a part of House of Abundance Poetry since 2019. She loves the amazing community of artists that HOA brings together.

Here is her work “DND.”

“DND” by Ketty Joe

How long can you hide your mental illness from everyone?
Can your sanity die quietly?

Do Not
Your Loved Ones

How can a broken mind even conceive of housing a healthy womb

Where will your kids come from?
Who will raise them?

Will it be the depression or that other version of you?
That woman who somehow gets things done, looks put together, showers
and brushes her teeth.
A plastered smile, always peeling at the edges.

You once taught a class to teens and told them that sometimes depression
looks like a lack of hygiene.

All the kids laughed and said how untrue that was. How that person wasn’t
depressed, just nasty.

Is this nasty woman going to raise your children?

And when they want to play, will she lock her bedroom door and cry into her ears

wishing they would leave her alone

You are afraid to have children.

You don’t know what will raise them.

Find a full schedule of poems, to be released weekly in partnership with House of Abundance, here. For more information, future events, and general updates from the community, follow House of Abundance on Instagram at @abundancehouseof.

Top Image: Photo: Ketty Joe.