Photography © Chad Parenteau


They’ll Let You Use Kool-Aid To Dye Your Hair When You’re 10
& In The Hospital For Setting Your Childhood on Fire

They’ll also let you have a
unicorn birthday cake and
you can have the fire alarm go off
when you’re in the ward.

They’ll light your 10 (ten) candles
for you and they’ll let you,
Psychiatry’s child, run
outside & possessed
by the noise of alarm & freedom,
overflowing your body
like one thousand


That will make you feel
special which is like how the inside
of a bell must feel when it tastes the
reverberation of a job well done.

They’ll let you learn
when they release you
how every pigeon feels
heading into an unknown sky:

You’ll be terrified and alone.

You’ll be Free.


Chrissy Stegman is a wife/mother/poet from Baltimore, Maryland. She often writes about her experiences in Appalachia and her grandparent’s life living in the Blue Ridge, and her childhood experiences living in a home with domestic violence.

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine.