Just For A Moment
Waiting to be released from the ward,
I play ping pong with Wesley.
We are laughing, I keep missing the ball.
I’m surprised at his patience with me.
A social worker calls him away,
when he returns he’s pale.
I see him slide down against
the wall, arms wrap around drawn-up knees.
His head down, his shirt over his head.
His bipolar features paranoia, and he is already
in mental lock down.
I go to him when my ride arrives,
bend a bit, place my hand on his shoulder,
and quietly tell him, “My ride’s here.
I’m going to miss you.
I feel like we were friends in another life.”
I start to drop my hand down his arm
before the inches between us
grow into feet. As I get to his forearm,
he grabs mine and holds on tight,
just for a moment, just enough for goodbye.
The Girl Who Stays One Day
She’s going into prostitution
when she’s 18, she brags.
Daddy broke her down like a puzzle,
and she leans all her pieces
whenever he stands still.
She writes on his hand,
property of, in felt tip pen,
which he shows me days later.
I avoid her eyes
as we pass each other in the ward.
She wears midnight like a cape.
Her face, a kaleidoscope of shadows.
( Jeri Thompson has appeared in Chiron, Anti-Heroin Review among others.)
The Beautiful Space-