I sat in sturdy chairs built for unsteady minds
and for 120 minutes listened to
from a slack-mouth addict who ought to know
Some bullshit about hope.
The red-haired schizoid is bobbing frantically, maybe
she wants to believe He’s right.
That boy with the broken glasses
(he’s a thief, and older than he looks)
just wants to get out of here.
Me, I am shaking my head because what he’s not telling us
is that his head never did get screwed on right-
rehab and psychs didn’t hammer it down hard.
Otherwise he wouldn’t be here promising us greener grass-
He’d be busy with all that Hope.
No one sane would ever come back.
Most of the time I lazed on couches with scars on the leather
and torn-up cushions with no stitches
I stared at an old mural of hot-air balloons
they must have been vivid some day
they’re floating bulbs of jaundiced paint.
A little boy peeks out of one of the baskets
what a prick-
I bet he’s glad to look down
at the little crazies stuck in gravity
I stare at him and swear.
that one day he will come down, maybe all the way
to the 7th ring-
who knows what sin
lurks in that faded
My nails chipped at my skin
one layer, two layer, three
Little marks the width of a fingernail speckle my arms
the manifest scars of hysteria.
My father brought my dancing shoes- handed them
to a nurse who cut off the ribbons
so I couldn’t drop from the ceiling.
I wondered who made that worry
Some dancer who ran out of breath, I guess.
It didn’t matter to me
Now I could whip down the halls in centrifugal
turning, turning, turning
till a pucker-mouth nurse took the shoes away.
They unlocked the doors on a Wednesday morning
two days before Christmas
My parents cried, and my brothers
smiled in bursting moons.
And I exhaled, to think
that the worst was over!
Two years later, five nurses
held me down
as a doctor shoved a tube into my nose
and slipped tattle-tale bracelets on my wrist
Starving body, shrinking mind-
that is how it goes and goes.