Photo from Shutterstock
Photo from Shutterstock

“psychosis, noun: a serious mental illness … characterized by defective or lost contact with reality…”

–Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary


She might be beautiful if she’d smile,

Change her perfume from “Trying Too Hard.”

She slid a form across the counter—

Mahogany; everything there was mahogany—

So our hands couldn’t meet.


As I turned, I saw the counter’s edge

Where the veneer curled away,

Exposing plywood in unflinching fluorescence—

God forbid they put in a window—

I thought, “That’s the most honest thing here.”


I swear I glimpsed our world on that piece of tape:

Government center with an AC unit rattling somewhere overhead,

Streets, grocery stores, barber shops where customers—

That’s all they are in the grand scheme, really—

Prattle on politics, pay with plastic backed by green paper.


All hanging loose with no root in the veldt,

No grasp in grass with cricketsong,

Nor toe in shimmering lake—

Favoring corroded pipes running to parks—

Claiming victory as it’s bucked.


Could we meet in the veldt?

If I leapt from the street’s end,

Would you hold my hand—

Forget perfumes and forms—

Would you smile?