At the Hospital
AT THE HOSPITAL
I lock myself inside the space of poem
just as I did the bathroom when I was three.
Mother and father yell
and beg and pound for me to come out,
but I am steadfast. I watch the pee
run over my thighs
and into the space behind my knees
and down the backs of my legs
until the tops of my socks are sopping wet
and my feet are sloshy in my shoes.
My brother and sister demand
news of our mother's condition -
our father is long-time dead -
as my pen scribbles sounds of ink
along the edges of my paper
until words come together on the page.
I look from my shoes to the quivering door
as firemen meander through the mind of dream
and doctors continue on -
even after the lock is broken.
-Esther Altshul Helfgott
The poem first appeared in SHESPEAKS: Seattle Women's Caucus for Art Newsletter, winter 1992 and was reprinted in The Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Review (Vancouver Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Society), vol. 4, no 1, winter 1993.
posted to Psychoanalytic Diaries, July 31, 2005