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In the Confessional

by J.M. Regan

At my first town meeting 
on the bare and veiled receiving ward 
where I sat shouting 
at the uncaring wall -- rape kill die -- 
the other inmates cowered 
the way I cringe from flowers, and the blue sky. 
Then they all thanked me for sharing. 

That visiting hour I woke up and saw, 
like waking to a nightmare, 
my hour-of-my-death mother -- 
beak and feather, 
hawk's eye, bloody claw. 
This was stuff no dream was made on. 
I screamed and ran. 

(My dreams are full of 
flash, and fire, and thrashing love, 
with pricks thick 
as my neck. 
They balloon and enter 
like the body of the lake 
finally ballooned into my millstoned father.) 

For breakfast I'd eat thorazine. 
That magnetic thorazine! 
My head and torso 
twisted twisted toward the east 
as though in quest of Xst 
and forced, like the morning glory, 
to shrivel at the first light. 

Elavil was helpful too. 
I never got bored. 
When I'd open my book, each word 
untwirled from the sentences. 
I'd watch them twinkle into the distances, 
lyrical as birds of happiness. 
Neither did I miss my libido. 

I'd unload on my doctor. 
She was cold, controlled, and spoke in codes, 
like a computer. 
She dismissed all my trespasses. 
Sins vicious as tetrapods! 
For my parents I'd agree to eat supper, 
and once my soul'd snapped shut as the jaws on the lioness, 

my brain soon grew sane as God. 
Freed of grief and old leafages, 
my two feet re-rooted. 
My fired -- oh orange! -- wings burned to ashes. 
Now I'm steady as iron 
in my deaf-mute aloof cocoon. 
I am the dead. 

Nothing, however, shall be left unsaid.