Alive by Katie Hebert

If I was alive,
I would be


I would not fear my own heartbeat —
I would have a heartbeat.
I would not be floating between places trying to fit;

Everywhere and nowhere.

I become the life of the party

And a wall-flower.

I become the most beautiful girl she’s ever seen

And rejected.

I become a broken vase; loud, shattering

And the dust collecting on it.

If I was alive,
I would not be scared of being alive.
I would not wish myself with my mother
and my father,
Both separated by atmospheres,
Would not have to choose favorites.

Would not need to have friends dress me to be reminded that I am not a ghost.
Would not need to have people make sure I am eating to be reminded that I am not a ghost.
Would not have to need validation to be reminded that I am not a ghost.

If I was alive–
If I am alive,
Then… I am alive.

And what a legacy it is to just be


To be walking with both feet consistently hitting the pavement,
To spell H-A-P-P-Y and not see LIAR, but see TRYING,
To stand in the face of adversity and not disappear,
But to appear
And reappear
Again and again and again.

There is life that lives after me.

The first girl I felt love with is in Chicago.
My suicide is floating in Philly.
Pieces of my mother are frozen in Texas.
My reclamation of breath finds home in central New York.

This is where I leave myself everywhere and still find myself whole.

If I am alive,
Then hear these words:
Hear a ballad of self love in every conversation I conduct,
Hear this roaring thunder in my chest.

I am alive
And I do not fear this heartbeat anymore.


Katie Hébert is a NYC based queer poet. She is a recent graduate from SUNY Oneonta where she studied English and Women’s & Gender Studies. She has performed at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational for three years, along with different venues and spaces across New York State. Her work has appeared in The State Times and Turnpike Magazine. When she isn’t writing poetry or talking about intersectional feminism, she’s probably sleeping or fangirling over Harry Styles. You can find her at or @kaferinee on Instagram and Twitter.

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