November 2017

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.