photo by Timothy Allen  copyright 2000
                          Ten Years After

                                   Here is the church.
                                   Here is the steeple.
                                   Open the doors
                                   and see all the people.
                                             -Unknown Nursery Rhyme
                                               & Hand Game

                            Dr. Bob folds his hands like that.
                            A church and a steeple; I expect
                            to unfold any minute for his blithe
                            amusement. At any moment revealing
                            all of the shiny-happy-finger people
                            he keeps in his pocket. The ones
                            who do not speak but remind him
                            daily he is not the one crying, perched
                            on the edge of a brown leather chair.

                            He deepens his voice with me and leans
                            away, looks out the window, past
                            the church, past the long wintered field.
                            He looks away. Do we want to talk today?

                            Can we be positive? I know I am not
                            supposed to say that the corgard was not
                            effective in the mind-over-matter game
                            and that I am not supposed to say,
                            It failed. I am supposed to be open,
                            like the field, but I am too well

                            wintered, too well pushed under, fenced
                            in by the wires and red thicket. He knows
                            I am filled with snow and blustered
                            by the white compressed tablets they feed
                            me when I am not-Positive. When I am not

                            a shiny-happy-finger person pressed
                            between sweaty palms and when I am not
                            enclosed in a nursery rhyme, leaning out
                            of a brown leather chair.

Copyright 2000 Haze McElhenny


Back                                                                             Table of Contents                                                                    Next