February 28, 2008
By Emily Dronen, Sandstone, MN

I was carried in
draped over a shoulder
eyes crusted, teen angst burning my eyes
I tracked stigma into odor burned hallways
like sand flaking from dry feet

Here lies
an epidemic, a cliche
that has repeatedly
clawed its way into walls
and doors
It lives and breeds here
tearing at mattresses and clenching blankets
with white knuckles

Hollywood will make movies
that portray the padded rooms and straight jackets
that are straight down the hall
In the last room, to the left
They provoke the gossip
of who's in and who's out
Until nobody can ignore the
frizzy-haired panic
that comes with the injection of tranquillizers
on top of self inflicted wounds

There's a certain
interest, a self reassuring sense of comfort
that lies amongst the broken and the bruised
It resonates in the nurses and gossips to complete strangers
as it conceals the imperfections and insecurities of
molded appearences

There's something to be said
about the way the bright light shines orange into closed eyes
when the door is cracked open
Interrupting a peaceful night's rest
(we're all awake now)

Nobody's ever gentle or discreet
when writing their reports;
Check the empty box
(The dead are still alive)

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