Psychiatric Ward, Bed 23 Window
When pleaded with to finish
your dinner tray, you say:
I am contemplating the virtues
of the mind vs. the sins of the flesh.
You believed, to feed yourself
fed all Evil in the world.
As war news blossomed on TV,
you became thinner, then cadaverous.
A doctor’s son, you had been stuffed
full of promise, Catholic school and Latin verbs.
Lamb of God—you take away
the sins of the world, have mercy.
Soon your crisp, plaid shirts and khaki
pants hung and billowed, sails on the mast,
and your speech came like purple loosestrife
along the expressway, unexpected bursts of color
shuddering from the sheer force
of what passes by.
Susannah W. Simpson’s work has been published in The North American Review, The Potomac, The Wisconsin Review, South Carolina Review, POET, Nimrod International, Poet Lore, Salamander, and Xavier Review, among others. Her book, Geography of Love & Exile, was published by Cervena Barva Press in December, 2016 (Somerset, MA).