Reg wrapped his towel out of communal showers
in all the wrong places. Jill still can’t forget her eyeful.
—My brother drove down a ditch, says Reg, now dressed.
—How awful. Jill can’t stomach things no more,
since Bill went & got himself a whore.
—Said a rabbit ran out. It’s a dangerous road. Out there.
—Safer here, Jill laughs & lights a cheap fag;
I accidentally woke today, she sighs,
for seven days, staring at the carpet.
Nurses wheel out drinks, tolling cups announce a procession,
Jill clears cards, wraps a pinky.
—Look at my hair how it’s super curly.
Makes me want to die. Drinks her tea.
Reg breathes on his glasses — now his mother can’t do it.
—I’m going to Canada when the weather clears.
—It should be nicer than here, says Jill.
My sister locked me in when it was raining.
Called the cops. Said I was ill.
(She’s mad that way.)
With a sigh Reg admits:
—I’m sick, (the doctors give an eye)
I’m gonna study King Arthur. So I can live in the past.
He palms his face, shaving never goes to plan,
the razors here just don’t cut it.
So many want out. But Jill can still taste tears.
—If I pick a side, she frowns, it might ruin my soul,
better to be neutral in here — a hand on her gown.
And let God decide.
Reg picks pieces of a puzzle,
—I just want earphones in. Be busy. Chores, reading you know?
—My brother wasn’t alone.
My sister was there too. She works in a bank.
But he’s stubborn, born angry like me,
that’s why he drives
everything into the ground you see —
that’s where mom went. Now he just stands around.
Now mom’s not around.
Inspired by real conversations overhead in a barber shop recast into the voices of two patients in a psychiatric ward.