The day the doctors and nurses are having
their weekly patient interviews, I sit waiting
my turn outside the office, my back to the wall,
legs curled up under my chin, playing
with the hem of my white hospital gown.
They have taken everything they thought
should be taken — my clothes, my books
my music, as if being stripped of these
were part of the cure, like removing the sheath
from a blade that has slaughtered.
They said, Wait a few days, and if you’re good
you can have your things back. They’d taken
my journal, my word made flesh, and I think
of those doctors knowing me naked
holding me by my spine, two fingers
under my neck, the way you would hold a baby,
taking my soul from between my ribs
and leafing through the pages of my thoughts,
as if they were reading my palms,
and my name beneath them like a confession,
owning this girl, claiming this world
of blackness and lightness and death
and birth. It lies in their hands like a life-line,
and I feel myself fall open or apart.
They hear my voice as they read
and think, Who is this girl that is speaking?
I know the end, she tells them.
It is the last line, both source and closing.
It is what oceans sing to, how the sun moves,
a place for the map-maker to begin.
Behind the door, nothing is said.
Like dreams, my clothes come out of their boxes.