i see you put on your strength
as you walk down the hall,
you pull on your armour,
gauntlet and all.
we wait for you at the nurse’s station
clutching brown bags
of clean underwear
and purple eyeshadow.
just enough to get you through another week.
you look so calm and so together
in your thorazine sweater
handing out hugs and smiles
left and right
thick and fast.
we have no time to get suspicious.
you throw up a lipgloss smokescreen
and lay down machine-gun chatter.
it’s sleight of hand.
it’s marines on command.
and we are taken by surprise
we are all mesmerized.
because you seem just fine.
you seem yourself.
in fact, you’re the very picture
of rehabilitated health.
so we ask all the wrong questions.
and you give all the right answers.
this is what everyone wants, anyway.
pretty stories with witty punchlines.
visiting hours are over at four o’clock
and then the doors lock.
so we all fall in line. we laugh
with the track. you have captured
your audience. you’ve occupied your territory.
you’ve palmed everyone
except for me.
yes, darling, i can see you.
oh, i can see right through you.
but you needn’t worry.
don’t hold your breath.
i didn’t bring any horses.
and i will not call the cavalry.
there are no medics and no morphine
tucked away in my coat pockets.
believe me, i’m not here to rescue you.
so you can lay down your arms.
you can stop the charade.
let’s just be two girls together
on a sunday afternoon.
just two dark girls together,
that’s all i’ll ever ask of you.