published Summer 2016 in Open Minds Quarterly




I think I’m seeing white birds

white birds scattering away

from my window, out there

in the cold January, their wings

sound, from here, like sheets–

my grandmother’s white sheets–

on the line in June.
The light coming in is white.

Color? Or space?

Like the space we can never fill.

Like the start of a narrative.

Like the blank walls,

these hospital rooms cemented

in their smoggy halo.
I’m crouched over a puce tray,

surrounded by the others in halogens, others

that have found strange caverns to fill in

strange tongues native to disorder, asking me

if I have a home, if I want my ice cream,

if I cut myself


as they rock in their seats

or lay on the couch or pace

the room, watching. We’re always

I’m back in room East-Building #125

looking into a safety mirror

at my eyes, those black spheres

that tell me nothing

as to how to find them,

and my face is swollen,

green in the light.


Afternoons leave me trailing halls

away and around the others, busy

ants that lost their tribes, seeking

something, something close to that morning

light, before you’re awake.

I follow the ones that never cry,

asking what they’re on.
I stop at the Christmas tree

with it’s paper ornaments.

Something deeper hurts.

The homeless Dave from Duluth

whispers to me from behind the tree

“are you getting out of here?” and I’m suddenly

hitting a bottom


because there are no lights

on this tree,


just the glint in his chimney eyes.

I bolt for my room as I unravel, knowing

at the same time that I belong

as my thoughts spin and my body

invades my privacy, it’s going to turn too

and choke me out of reason.


I dissociate, panic,

become psychotic, crash

and wake up later beneath

a doctor’s light, my body

on a cool sheets


and I think I’m seeing white birds

white birds scattering away

from my window, out there

in the cold January.

(photo by Elle Moss at Etsy)

2 thoughts on “EB-125


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s