I sit in a slant of winter sun in the living room I share with my husband, Tim. From its safety, I Google the medication I must take to stay free of locked rooms where nurses strip me, chart my scars.

Then I add, “+ pregnancy.”

Hunched before the screen, I cry for my unconceived child until my chest aches and my eyes flame. I cry until my voice goes rough, and I can’t cry anymore. Then I lace up for a run.

I run and run and run. As I round the corner of Vinsetta onto Royal, the sun sets fire to the black of the tree line, lights igniting on a privacy fence as I pound past, earbuds pulsing.

“You are strong. You are resilient. You are powerful,” I repeat.

I don’t believe myself.  

Freddie Mercury takes flight in music, effervescent, all quicksilver poured into black leather, while I remain tethered to the ground, plodding, my calves aching from cold and concussion of concrete.

Quintessential bipolar: I, too, have leapt through the sky, defying the laws of gravity. I once dove naked into mountain lakes blue as forget-me-nots, hitchhiked the Spanish countryside in the back of 4x4s. I danced in discotheques until night became day, collided in closets with men whose names I never knew.

But the torment—the cutting and burning, the hospitalizations, the suicide attempts.

Now I have become a creature of earth. Bound by pills, I have become torpid, chubby, content.


As I turn onto Syracuse, a stitch flares in my stomach, and I stare down a mailbox. “Just run to that mailbox,” I huff. Passing it, I concentrate on the next.

These days, on these pills, I long for the ordinary: A house, a job. Tomato and basil seedlings.  

A baby girl.

I would name her Rosalie Sharon for my mother. “The desert shall bloom like a rose,” Song of Solomon reads. The dream didn’t seem impossible—I once believed I would never marry.

Life is mundane until suddenly it isn’t.

My medication causes miscarriages in rats. Low birth weight and withdrawal. Rat fetuses die without explanation. No human studies on the medication’s effects in pregnancy have been done. “You will have to discuss this further with your provider and your husband,” the OB/GYN psychiatrist told Tim and me. “There is a risk.”

Down Murdock to Crooks, my legs become deadweights. Fiery cold shoots through my swollen fingers. Black ice glistens in the final, failing light.

After the consult, I huddled naked in the bathtub and sobbed until I hyperventilated, until my stomach hurt. I traced, over and over, the fine white lines of razor blade scars, the mauve pocks of cigarette burns, long healed. Could such a damaged body ever give life?

Now God gives no answer but the thump-thump, thump-thump of my tiring footfalls, the whoosh-whoosh of my laboring breath. My feet pound the pavement as I run on into icy night. The day bleeds, all the fans depart, and Freddie Mercury croons alone into a broken microphone.

I am a creature of earth.  

I will run after my daughter until I give way to dust.  

Meg LeDuc is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She won a 2014 Michigan Press Association Award for News Enterprise Reporting and is working on a memoir. HerStry, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, and the International Human Rights Art Festival have published excerpts, and a chapter won first place for essay in the International Human Rights Art Festival’s Creators of Justice Literary Competition. Her work also has appeared in Kestrel: A Journal of Literature and Art and American Writers Review. She lives and works in the Detroit area.

Art by Jill Khoury