72 Hours

gut-wrenching pain and debilitating cries

panic and loss like I’ve never experienced

Why are you here?

…because I don’t want to live

blood and pee, then a nasal swab

drawstrings and pens and underwire bras

unforeseen methods of ways to die

even remote batteries could cause a scene

wheeled to the ward with an armed guard

“penthouse” he says when the elevator arrives

only my wristband is all that’s important

a brown paper bag and a short scary walk

I sit in my place and stare at the night

How can I sleep with all this pain?

the inhale of beasts flying in my gut

the exhale of anguish with quivering sighs

“hi” softly sails from the other bed

hear a sad tale of prostitution and rape

needing a bed to be safe from males

“I lost everything”, I share from the bottom of a pit

I awake hearing “vitals” and I get in line

feeling fragile and weak amidst towering men

my eyes look around at my temporary home

plastic everything and colors of monotone

have bouts of crying wildly out of control

blue scrubs and green scrubs come into my room

keep on confirming that I wish to die

rejected and abandoned by the world I created

just stop the pain; I need a break

from all the thoughts inside my head

from the knots in my gut and the distress in my heart

please turn off my emotions; make me feel numb

I open my eyes when it’s time to eat

for the first time in a week I feel a pang

I devour my food as fast as I can

another wave hits and I twitch myself to sleep

Saturday morning screams through the ward

two men yell at voices they hear

a woman screeches at staff about not getting food

“It’s a concert today”, a counselor cries

push a silver button again and again

water washes over me 15 seconds at a time

dragging droplets of distress down to the drain

maybe a little fresher but still feel despair

a man wearing green opens the door

I step in the cage that allows fresh air

a chain link ceiling lets in the sun

which hits my skin for the first time in days

music I don’t know plays from a box

I sit myself down on a blue piece of plastic

and stare at the view through tiny black holes

an unfamiliar thought enters my mind

I pick up a basketball that I push to the floor

I aim and I throw towards the hoop with no net

it doesn’t go in so I try again…and again

without me noticing I am happy for a bit

I meet many people and learn their stories

of how they arrived to this substitute living

suicide attempts, abuse, hopelessness and rage

I soak it all in like a dried out sponge

each new day I know the routine

my chest is still heavy and I don’t want to move

a rather large band-aid sits over my heart

How long til I rebound from such a strong bond?

still plagued with feelings of wanting to die

“I’m not out of the woods”, I repeat to all

pop a few pills and breathe a big sigh

back into bed and stare at no purpose

man with red socks smiles and waves

a woman does crosswords; others glued to TV

man from Iraq runs his fingers over beads

a woman’s rocking and another screams

my bunkie and I name our suite

“heartbreak hotel” as we grieve our losses

the best therapy takes place in our tiny beds

memories of the past, pain of the present and wonders of the future

I think of my students like a far away dream

my house and my hammock and lots of fruit trees

dividing, dividing all of our stuff

my chest hurts and my gaze faces down

I shoot some more baskets and many go in

the band-aid accompanies me like a good friend

armed with more independence and self-assured

my heart is still broken, but I want to exist!

I go to the beach in the cage outside

and lie on the gray cement sand

I soak in the sun throughout my core

and close my eyes to listen for waves

72 hours turns into a week

everyone here relates to my pain

there’s a freedom in being able to be

the true and the weird and the nutty me

I switch myself around when I go back to bed

to gain new perspective and live a small joy

I think of the future as I stare at the wall

a yellow stubby pencil scratches its way across the page

a list of ideas of a life worth living

kayak and read and buy a fun dress

try out for softball and make some new friends

don’t want life to not have me in it

I want to sit on my couch and lay in my hammock

to cook in my kitchen and relax in my bed

water my fruit trees and mow my own lawn

to think my own thoughts and steer my own fate

I cheer for each patient as they approach the exit

and wish them good luck as they walk out the door

despite the Covid warning, I give out a hug

to my roomie and thank her for all of the love

gotta new roommate: young, talented and Black

we both leave today with a spring in our step

armed with a list of ways to improve

both looking to the future with a new attitude

many new faces on the floor this morning

“Good morning”, I smile and give a wave

for I remember my very first day

I’ve come so far in just a week’s time

after waiting for hours, talking with friends

I change my blue socks for shoes of my own

I hear my name called; it’s my turn to go

I cheer in triumph as I leap down the hall

some share my joy and give me a shout

with my band-aid still firm I approach the outside

a difficult journey through the world awaits

I bust through the doors with my wings spread wide

%d bloggers like this: