I’d like to leave this nailbiter of a day
the spasms, the meanness, the tension
of that dark coast looming
I’d like to clock the amps of power cruel
flip the switch to opera
blast out the termites
clean up the frequencies
go to quiet
a snake graveyard
a turtle concert
a blue water map of letters
A rabbit castle
built on glass.
Ruth Lehrer is a writer and sign language interpreter living in western Massachusetts. Her writing has been published in journals such as Lilith and Jubilat. Her poetry chapbook, TIGER LAUGHS WHEN YOU PUSH, is published by Headmistress Press. Her debut young adult novel, BEING FISHKILL, is available from Candlewick Press.
If the pain that visits my body every day had a name
perhaps it would be easier to talk about it to others,
including the doctor, who nods sympathetically
and draws dogs on his prescription pad to entertain my daughter –
the under two crowd loves a good dog. I will see him again
for years, every once in a while, but the pain visits daily,
it does not ask to be fit into my busy schedule
it finds a way, and I in turn have found a way to smile
with a punch in my gut. To eat food and make conversation
while my stomach, contracts in and out as if I am preparing
to give birth. I have cleaned my house and walked through
The Louvre with a paring knife in my bowels. What to do with this?
The doctor doesn’t say that nothing can be done with words
but with years of inaction, of tests, each as unhelpful as the next.
Caitlin Thomson has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals including: The Adroit Journal, Rust + Moth, Barrow Street Journal, and The Pittsburgh Poetry Review. You can learn more about her writing at www.caitlinthomson.com.
You should busy me. Make sure I have something to do
with my hands. Give me manicured
lawns and lovely buildings,
all of these combined provide
“a special apparatus for
the care of lunacy.” i
In case you were wondering, I have never
been admitted. Never quite the right fit
for here or there. Even my doctors
are uncertain: Swallow the blue pill
or don’t. Call me
but I won’t answer. I will keep you
and then throw you away.
Against that wall, throw yourself
against that wall. It’s not so hard
when you just try to focus
on the good things.
I like flamingo croquet
and painting tea cups. I am not
a very good listener, distracted,
as I am, by the constant hum
i Psychiatric Services. “The Kirkbride Plan: Architecture for a Treatment System That Changed.” 27(7), 1976.
Jen Rouse’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Inflectionist Review, Midwestern Gothic, the CDC Poetry Project, Sinister Wisdom, Anti-Heroin Chic, Crab Fat Magazine, Up the Staircase, and elsewhere. She was named a finalist for the Mississippi Review 2018 Prize Issue and was the winner of the 2017 Gulf Stream Summer Contest Issue. Rouse’s chapbook, Acid and Tender, was published in 2016 by Headmistress Press. Find her at jen-rouse.com and on Twitter @jrouse.