In the waiting area, after Hello, silence;
we are tongue tied by the house rule
never to trespass on the personal, outside.
At 11, the psychotherapist shuts the door on:
cheery smiles donned with coats
for the chatty cashier at the co-op,
an animated I’m fine to family and friends
who roll their eyes at depression’s monotone .
"How is everyone this week?"
We stare at the carpet, examine our nails….
reluctant to appear too greedy;
until Amy’s eyes begin to drip tears -
after years of schizophrenic husband attaching
himself to her like a tag as she cleans , shops, pees…
vomiting has become her guilty pleasure.
Liz, relives tending daughter’s bruises,
her ‘Leave him’ parried with ‘Don’t start mum’;
striking the woman with the same paraplegic helplessness
as her six-year-old self
unable to get ‘father to stop.’
‘Room’ etiquette means we listen in trappist silence
to each other’s Alan Bennett monologues,
then offer only palliative words,
understanding that some lives are incurable.
12.30 the psychotherapist’s eyes flick to the wall clock.
We scatter with cheerful ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘See you next week’
like casual acquaintance from a Pilates class.