In the open fields
Of the abandoned state mental hospital
I went for my first outing.
I didn’t want to enter the outer world
Because I am so afraid
And so cold even inside.
It feels slightly safer in here.
But I took the dog out there
And heard the leaves crunching under foot
I didn’t really look down at them, just listened.
And then, I found
The biggest, widest, oldest
Most gnarled, huge old oak tree.
I rubbed its rough messy trunk,
Pressing hard enough
To feel pain in my hand
Wanting to bleed out the agony.
And then I laid my head
Against the roughest part
And wept and wept
Knowing that so many
Broken hearts and fractured minds
Had come to weep before me.
With their ghosts still wandering
On these grounds where they were kept,
Sedated and restricted
Within their tortured souls.
I pressed my face into the bark
Sobbing from deep in my gut,
Sensing this tree
Had heard worse
And lived on anyway
And then I looked up,
So very high up
And begged and wailed
Hoping someone would
Hear me pleading for help
For me, for my son, for us all.