First Appointment (circa 1958)

You would be my age. Mid-thirties. Married almost
ten years. Bodies tremulous in your separate chairs.

The room is made of mahogany. The man you’ve
sought a kind of god, ashing a cigarette into the desk.

Books are everywhere, opened like prayers. Which,
you wonder, contains the parable of your husband?

The day you wed, you didn’t know what it would be like:
being with a man. But for a brief moment, the psychiatrist

is a priest, begging of you promises. He is proud to teach
you how to tell yourself what happened. How to look

at your husband with a gentle fondness. By the third
cigarette, you have learned words like neurotic. Though

how wretched must I be to assume a great distance between
you? To question if there were love before, even while,

the man you agree to a life with disappears within himself
from the Reserpine? Prefers to you his mother. How I

ache for you to have returned home, pressed your sodden
body to his. Balled your fists into his chest and screamed

you loved him. Perhaps you did. The spring rain
unrelenting: my mother born January of the next year.

Originally published in Gyroscope Review

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