Curled like a bird in its mother's nest
the patient lies on a cot mumbling: Roomboom.
Quietroom. Booby-hatch my egrets'
regrets. Magpie, tell Wagatail:
strap me to swallowlegs.
Blue-throated doc butcherbirds my brains
again and again. Nutcracker nurse nightjars my back.
Sniper trails me. Yellow-bellied sapsucker
twists. Oh, my arms pintail my sage.
Oh, girl, whippoorwilling
girl. Swallow me. Let the wren.
Let the quail, swallow me.
-Esther Altshul Helfgott
from the Homeless One: A Poem in Many Voices
originally published in Seattle by Kota press, 2000
Now, thanks to the German psychotherapist, Dr. Rudolf Suesske of Cologne, Homeless has a website and is available for theatre use and in academic environments. It has been particularly effective in abnormal psychology classes.