Psychiatric TimesPsychiatric Times Vol 36, Issue 2
Volume 36
Issue 2

I’ve been waiting for one of those nine bare-breasted sisters to land by my side and inspire a sonnet...

inspire, muse, writing

Anna Gerasko/


Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists
and turns
driven time and again off course.

Homer, The Odyssey


I’ve been waiting for one of those nine bare-

breasted sisters to land by my side and inspire

a sonnet, but when I sit down to write, I’m visited

by vets from a demolished VA hospital, man-breasted

brothers in arms from Nam, Korea, and WWII

dressed in brown seersucker johnnies, sporting

cirrhosis-bloated bellies, hemorrhaged varicosities,

air hungry, oxygen-pronged men who steal away

to smoke Camels and Kents. They’re blind

diabetics with pulseless feet, alcoholics in withdrawal

who don’t know the date or the D-Day president,

who sport gangrenous toes, purple puncture wounds,

bodily fluids in every color of an oil-slick rainbow.

Marooned in beds far from family and friends,

they sing stories about their twists and turns when

driven off course by Pentagon brass, my clipboard

like Calliope’s tablet cradled in my lap, their songs

shaping me with every word. 

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