I lie on the bench
on top of two heating pads
under a silvery thin blanket
with needles in my skin.
everything slows down.
I wish for more darkness,
so I pull the blanket up
over my face. the sounds
of voices around me swirl dimly,
pass away and return. I feel
like I’m lying on a beach.
nothing can touch me.

when my therapy is done,
I gradually put myself
back together, pulling on
my old mismatched socks
with the holes in the heels,
then my shoes, then my glasses.
out in the reception area, it seems
someone has stolen my power
brick that I had foolishly left
charging there, but it doesn’t matter.

I take the elevator downstairs
and go out into the street. all
around me is chaos. a woman
outside the T-Mobile store
shrieks that she feels like she is dying,
she is going to have
a heart attack, she can’t take it
any more. the girl she is with
is crying as the lady yells at her
to stand right there, but the girl
is staggering away. it’s a bad scene.
next to them, a homeless man tries to flag down
a passing fire truck, for reasons known only
to himself. I do not feel
any panic at this obvious distress.
“Poor lady,” I say to myself, but
even the sound of my own voice
seems to go nowhere. I feel like
a ghost, like a leaf on the wind, like a monk
experiencing enlightenment in the middle
of a battlefield. I drift
aimlessly towards Grand Central.

the faces of the homeless men
sleeping in the tunnels are creased
in their sleep, like children
trying not to cry. everywhere
is pain and suffering. I feel
dimly sorry. there is a profound silence
deep in my soul
that nothing can touch. I feel
like a jellyfish floating in deep
water, like a penitent praying
in zen silence inside the temple
of my body, where a tiny bell rings
that only I can hear.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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