V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





Those days on the locked ward & under thick glass, 
shipped to the upstate hospital at 17, taught me nothing 
I didn't already know.  One, it is the small things 
you've got to watch out for, the tricky way lemon peels & a knife 
can cross in the kitchen sink.  Or two, that there will always be 
some dark girl, Zoloft tablets palmed & melting in her fist, 
the glow-in-the-dark moons along the edges of your room.
Casts run up her forearms, not that she'll tell you how it happened, 

not that she'll admit to anything.  Doctor So-&-So 
would disapprove of such talk.  He likes to think I've recovered, 
that it was no big deal, that I actually enjoyed 
the stretching regimen, drawn taut & thin as canvas 
on gallery walls. My parents saw nothing wrong with it,
just smoothed the fur on my arms & slid me back inside.

© by Rebecca Dunham


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