NaPoWriMo 2023 — Day 2: “The Coop”

2. The Coop

it took me a long time to see them,
the parallels between the two camps,
but being committed forced me
to examine closely

even the initials carved into
the bathroom stall doors
were the same, but they represented
different ethereal forms, & they spoke
different love languages
but if you meshed them together
at the same lunch break table
they’d swap the same stories
& understand each other

even underwater a patient
can see the look in the eyes
of another patient, extended
stays are just fancy words
for time served

no one can pronounce
the names of their medications
correctly, but everyone believes
taking them like holy communion
is the key to liberation

this is a lie that’s easier to swallow,
unlike the cotton swab pill, unlike
the truth of why one came to appear here

I learned fear as a coping mechanism
& now I’m cursing the sketch pad
they wrote notes about me on

I learned to read upside down
but it didn’t matter, I had to
negotiate my insanity level

up & down, pacing, up & down,
pacing, up & down — the thermostat
is a mood meter — up & down,
the blood pressure, pacing, up & down
the elevator where I truly believed
a bomb was being dismantled

evaluation day is a trial by a white-
coated jury but they’ll never tell you
you lose no matter what the verdict is

I’m still in that place I flew from
on Spring nights when the temperature
starts to rise, when I smell a certain
sterilized scent, & when I hear
a police siren that I think is
too close by

I just hide my wings better
I just pretend I’m not a bird

Photo by Alice Castro

Published by Jennifer Patino


19 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo 2023 — Day 2: “The Coop”

  1. “& now I’m cursing the sketch pad
    they wrote notes about me on”

    three “no”s in there (if you count the backward one!) and the ampersand makes me think of shorthand. The feeling that they are just lightly outlining you, practicing a shape of a patient instead of getting to know you… so much in just these lines! This is a very well constructed poem. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! And the question you posed is a good one. I believe possibilities are truly endless, so remembering that we can transcend limits is important. Knowing when to fly back is just as equal in importance to me too.

      Liked by 1 person

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