Where The Place.

Where the place? The nurse
watches as you fold and unfold
the towel after your bath, she
ignores what you say, her eyes
watch every move you make.

Where the place? you say, patting
the towel with the palms of
your hands, picking off a speck
of white. Maggie, that's enough,
the nurse says, losing patience,
sighing beneath her breath.

She walks beside you down
the dark passageway, never in
front(she's been told never to turn
her back on you.) Your hair is
cropped, your eyes stare ahead,
you mutter: where the place?

Upon the heath, you answer
yourself, there to meet...Hush
Maggie, the nurse says, eyeing
you warily, having read the report
on you, how you stabbed your
boyfriend's friend with a pair of
scissors, jab, jab, jab. There to meet,
whom will I meet? You say, looking
the nurse's way, taking in her pink
plumpness, the softness of her flesh,
her wariness of stare. You both enter
the main room. It is large and other
criminally insane patients sit about
or stand. Sit down now, Maggie,
the nurse says. You sit in a chair by
the wall. She walks off, her plump
behind sways as she walks away.

Jamie stands by the window; he
stares out. He still has the slit throat
you gave him as he slept in bed
beside you. He is silent. Moody fart,
you muse, wishing he'd go away, and
take his slit throat with him. Where
the place? You ask. He turns and looks
at you, but says nothing. You look
ahead at the passing crowd, the tall
nurse walks another patient by his
thin arm. WHERE THE PLACE?
You shout. Bells rings, nurses look
and rush towards you in sharp alarm.

by Terry Collett

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