Leaving the Counseling Center

[This is a poem I wrote on January 27, 2014, during a time when I was expected to produce a relatively large amount of material for a class. It was on a day I remember sitting in my chair in my apartment, staring at the food in the kitchen, feeling my stomach eat my entire body from the inside, wishing I could just go to sleep and stay that way. It was winter…]

Jim sits with his spindly legs crossed,

next to his yellow Sigmund Freud coffee mug,

photographs of pinetree-laden hills and a lake somewhere,

With his Harvard Medical School certificates.

The little fountain on the side table is still there,

And the branches out the window encroaching on

the gray sky, tinted blue by the window.

The window faces the afternoon’s light,

And it’s a devious tactic, because you have to walk into that light

in order to leave.

Jim spins in his chair reaching for his pen.

His elbow sticks out behind the chair when clicking,

seeking to revive his memories.

Anxiety and Sleep are on the names of two new books facing the red chair.

He clicks his pen on and off,

squinting and making his eyebrows appear pained when he looks up.

Back out into the cool air,

where soon pine tree walls and snow hint at vague memories

just beyond reconquest.

A nervous-looking blond girl passes to my left,

and two hooded men, boys, dragging their long legs,

displaying to the world that they don’t care if they get

to where they’re going.

A red van angry that it has to stop for the crosswalk.

From a near-empty building

to one full of gossiping, excited, stressed people,

but there’s still no center, no place where people convene

for any reason besides hurrying to their next class,

meeting, meal,

or…

appointment?

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