Friday, April 8, 2011

The Moon's Eyelid

They have been speaking
for years, telling her who
she is and what she should do.

Mostly, she ignores them.

The new doctor asks
if she has a superpower
the doctor should be aware of.

She tells the doctor: The moon’s eyelid
is wide open tonight. I can see that much.

The doctor nods, makes a note in the chart.

62 year old white female
suffers from schizophrenia disorder.

She decides not to tell the doctor
she can see the words before
the doctor writes them.

Words are all she has
and she uses them carefully.

Do you have any medical complaints? The doctor asks.
Which is a trick question.

Last year, when she stepped on a nail,
she went to the emergency room
and told them her foot was hurting
so bad she couldn’t walk on it.

They wrote in her chart:
Patient suffers from the delusion
that she can’t walk.

She pulled the nail out herself,
sucked the wound, dressed it
and limped for a month.

Just because they can’t understand her
they think she’s crazy. And it’s true
she has a penchant for creating new words,
and she prefers her own language to theirs.

Patient is incoherent and speaks gibberish
despite no finding of neurological problems.

This new doctor is nice enough, pretty.
She can tell the doctor cares. But she’s had enough;
so when the doctor leaves and before the nurse returns,
she pilfers the papers. But doesn’t even bother to hide them
under her gown. That’s how much they don’t pay attention.

Later, she chuckles when she hears the doctor
asking the nurse about her chart.

The nurse is distressed, knows she’s in trouble:
It wasn’t in the room; so I thought you took it with you.

The nurse’s whining makes her cackle louder.

The night body flings itself into the burning fire, she guffaws
and slaps her thigh.

When they show up, they find the remains
of her chart under her pillow. She’d left it there
during her nap, after she’d scattered the papers
around the white room.

They gather each sheet, gnawed
and wet with spittle, the ink bled
words no longer decipherable.

Mrs. Woods, did you do this? The doctor asks.

I was hungry, she replies, her smile stained black.

Okay. The doctor says, hesistantly.

The doctor leaves the room, the mess
of papers pressed to her chest.

And she giggles some more.

The moon’s eyelid is wide open, she sings.
Wide open, wide open. I can see that much.

© Ami Mattison

Photo courtesy of Qwincowper


  1. that which we can not explain we try to label put in a box contain...i wonder sometimes if the delusional just see things more clearly than we do...whose to say we are working ont he right base line anyway...its when the moon winks that get a little scared, you never know what she has done...

  2. Trying again--fingers are not obeying me.

    I like it Ami (--and I hope this is not a reflection of your day.)I like the tension between the "normal" and the real--lightly underlined at first, then with a fluorescent highlighter-- esp. love the ending.

  3. We can never know what goes on in someone else's mind. We do pass judgement based on what we believe is 'normal', but who is actually 'normal' anyway? Loved this, Ami!!!

  4. That is one limber 62 yr old if she can suck a wound on the bottom of her foot!

    The lunatic is in her head...

  5. Reading this, I think of the fools in Shakespeare; they're dismissed and yet speak truths we can only imagine.

    "The moon's eyelid / is wide open tonight" is a stunning image.