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The Words


Why do you have

so much stuff

they ask me

as I work to get

admitted to the

mental ward the

night of my 39th


I'm a professional I

think, it's hard to

get them to keep

you, but they're

not interested in

my reasons for


they want to know

why I have 20 books

and more magazines

that I can carry

and other questions

that I forget to

answer before they

come to the next


I couldn't remember

how to pack

and words were more urgent.

They leave me cold

on a gurney and

tell me nicely "Now

don't you wander

from here" and I

pile the books

around me while

I wait for someone

to bring me sleep

and stop the words.



[Originally published in NHS 2003, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs03/suzi_kaplan_olmsted.html.]