|Jul/Aug 2005 Poetry Special Feature|
Polar Bear, Shrimp Fractal, Temple Incense and the Mutant Nurse
It's nothing personal: ink blots change shape,
summer frizzles gauzelike curtains.
There's a grasshopper under the desk and
my analyst strokes the run in her stocking.
We could have been lovers—the four o'clock
sun spills across her walnut desk,
Rorschach cards spread ostrich feathers.
Most days I see animals: a polar bear traced
in acid snow, fractals like swimming shrimp
at midnight. I never mention my mother,
incense smoke for missing syringes,
an orderly changing adult diapers in the dark,
his eleven fingers deliciously teasing death.
Often I hear Bartok in the other room,
read shadows between the lines. She tapes
our conversations the way I wet my pants
every time a spoon fell to the floor:
this is the chill in my bones after I folded
old clothes in a box, the hollow that comes
after a white balloon is engulfed by clouds.
Before sleeping, I take her three pills,
like ellipses in someone else's poem;
sometimes I count kitchen tiles on my knees.
She doesn't know and calls it grief.