Chris Tusa

Rookie (01.01,72 / New Orleans, Louisiana)

Christmas in the Psych Ward


The schizophrenic girl twists off a turkey leg
then scoops a spoon-full of corn onto her plate.

Her hair is a black brain of braids,
her voice slow and mechanical
as if she’s reading from flash cards
pinned on the wall of her skull.

She’s convinced someone’s planted microphones
in each yellow kernel of corn.
I sit with her while she eats, watch her smash
each yellow kernel with the tines of her fork.

Surely, on Christmas Day, it’s the least I can do,
to join her, briefly, in her disease,
holding each yellow tooth of corn between my fingers,
smiling as I snap each tiny yellow mouth shut.

Submitted: Saturday, July 09, 2005

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