Poem: letter to a hell disguised as education

[Image Description: A grey-scale drawing of a student wearing a tie and mask, sitting at a desk with a cloud of frustration above their face]

Poem and Art by Ryan Rossiter 

Content Warning: depression, suicidal ideation, unhealthy coping mechanisms, graphic imagery

letter to a hell disguised as education 

i don’t remember you as learning 

i remember you as gut churning skin chewing nail biting stark white cold

i remember you as throwing up passing out running on an hour of sleep and caffeine and my own fingernails 

i remember you as jagged rage fuelled scribbles on a piece of lined paper

i remember you as shut up, sit down, do as you’re told 

i remember you as death 


you wanted my obedience in exchange for a few moments of calm so i swallowed back my questions and felt them die in my stomach like moths 

i filled the hours of the day with black ink scrawled into little white boxes, squinting at the text as my vision blurred with tears or sleep deprivation

you stood over me while my silence burned holes into my skin and ate away at my bones 

you watched me decay


hell is not filled with fire and brim stone hell is cold and metallic and sterile

hell asks you how it can help you for the sake of not looking like hell and then ignores your answer

it must have been so inconvenient for you when i spent my time fantasising about drilling that ballpoint pen into my throat until my heart stopped

but i stayed obedient and poured out the last of my vitality until my eyes turned grey and lifeless

my obedience was never enough for you

Ryan Rossiter is a sixteen year old aspiring artist and writer from South Yorkshire, England. His work contains themes of mental health, existentialism, and identity. You can find him on Instagram at ryan__rossiter.