It is January 20th by Jessica Lowell Mason

The doctor is calling.

She says to you,
without saying,

tell me what I want
to hear,
verify the hastiness
of all my generalizations,

the quick imprecise
and the bias-based


verify the invented fears

tell me I better keep her
Locked in. Here.

You take the doctor’s call,
you freeze in the terror

of your own guilt,
of your bystander error;

you tell her
what she wants to hear,

keep it short,
keep it simple, keep it false

while my life, my liberty,
hang on the line.

You say, without saying:

we were afraid,

keep her locked away).


— From the author’s new book of poetry, Straight Jacket, published by Finishing Line Press.


Back to Poetry


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.