First Meeting With A Psychiatrist
It seemed a third-rate performance
by Philippa Lane
of an actor well used to the role,
the salutary greetings linked in
a single-line monotone:
He waited, swaying to and fro,
in his vinyl-covered chair,
puffing on a fat cigar -
the smoke expertly curled
by his tongue into rich rings
It was my cue.
I muttered nervously
about my husband's inane cruelties,
his unpredictable outbursts of violence,
his bizarre ideas, the delusions,
he talking aloud in the shower alone,
and how I lived in fear of the threats
to kill us all.
“My children – how can I protect them? ”
I spoke in desperation
to the bald shiny dome of his head
bent over a notebook,
as his pen flowed
and his hand ran on
in the writing of copious notes,
never once looking up.
My mind drifted away,
to a Mandingo town
along with a large throng
of other women, assembled at nightfall,
being chased by men.
I was singled out as the offender,
stripped naked, tied to a post,
and as the rod of Mumbo scourged me
I heard shouts of derision,
hideous noises filling the cool, dusty air-
it was a ritual
of a grotestque idol,
the shrieks of Mumbo-Jummery
buzzing in my ears
like the droning
of trapped insects.
His false cough brought me back from Africa
Into this room where we sat.
It seemed to me
his eyes were raping me,
willing me to wantonless veneration.
I noted a couch, cold, clean and vacant,
like a morgue drawer
waiting for an occupant.
My performance was over, his now began,
it started with a dissertation of my ills
in a spate of unmistakable mummery;
high-sounding words resonated in the air,
and the session ended as it had begun,
words linked in a single-line monotone:
A prescription was thrust in my hand
as he helped me up and led me out -
the door slammed behind me,
rude in its definition.
Shaking, I tore the paper up
And scattered it on the floor.
Soon night would cast its wand
changing me into a child
aghast in the dark,
tiny hands contracted to shiny cones,
clutching the bed sheets in fear -
waiting for the boogey-man to appear.
(Baie d’Urfé, Québec