Dark Shadow by David Penner

And it befell on one mundane Monday morn
That trainee Hailey Meersheimer (rank M3)

Began her first shift in the psych ward; the pall
Was looming in the shadows, the walls were cold

And gray. After settling in, she was suddenly
Struck by an image of utter horror: a man who had

Been drugged and put in restraints was left drowning
And semi-conscious in the half-light, lifeless were

The glistening sands, faded was the once noble
Brow, shattered was the gentle mien upon that hour

Of unchecked pain, in tatters was the sacred mind;
The fathomless soul, a broken hourglass. And

Her new colleagues exchanged gossip, speaking
Of the weather and last night’s game,

While he who knew the suns of forty summers
Appeared as ancient as the moon, ancient

And ruthlessly cast down – cast down unto the
Depths of Hell; no light, no light from vacant eyes,

No light upon a tomb now calling. Whereupon
A nurse suddenly interrupted these dark

Ruminations, blurting out, “You feel sorry
For that guy? He said that Covid is treatable.”


David Penner’s articles on politics and health care have appeared in Dissident Voice, CounterPunch, Global Research, The Saker blog, OffGuardian and KevinMD; while his poetry can be found at Dissident Voice, Mad in America, and  redtailedhawk.substack.com. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books of portraiture: Faces of The New Economy, Faces of Manhattan Island, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: [email protected].


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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.


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