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
diagnoses
and the bias-based

confirmations,

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:

doctor,
we were afraid,

(doctor,
keep her locked away).

 

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

*****

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