From the top of Steep Hill / straight down five terror seconds
well, it was my car / the wheels were out of alignment
so the steering shook at thirty miles an hour
I don’t know how you hit the lampost / but you did.
It snapped. No bones broken, no skin opened.
You sat. The man who’d been watering his square lawn
got the edge of your voice when he asked if he was there /
so he called the cops. Something snapped.
The psychiatric ward was locked, nobody knew what they were doing there.
I lined up with the others, who came to say: I understand.
Nor do I. I saw the lampost, the car, the flat fact
of the hospital bed.
When do I think you’ll get out?
That’s all in the hands of the mechanics, the police, the doctors
& don’t worry about the car.
I’ll get some money back
off the registration. Your room is still here
though everyone is moving out. Your job is being held open /
the trees are still there to be lopped.
As for now
they’ll get the splinters out of your hands, the look
out of your eyes, the reason out of your head /
put you back
together again. I’ll bring in a jigsaw puzzle
I know you’re alright, that you’ll appreciate the joke.
The first day the worst /
you realize everyone else is saying it too:
but they’re all mad here.
I forgot the book, but I brought Donna, I’m playing gooseberry
building the perfect house of cards out of torn up cigarette packets
while the blue madmen tread softly,
& the khaki guard rattles his keys.
© Eric Beach