September 14, 2008

Kathleen Walsh Spencer, MSN, RN, MA

HER BROTHER’S PICKHOLE

He still wounds himself every day
for five decades now,
breakfast till bed, his index finger
spins tight circles at a spot
on his crown the size of a Cheerio.
Hunched over pancakes, driving
the toll road, typing with one hand,
the left hand always returns to his scalp,
elbow, wing of crow,
picking from road kill.

At fifty-five, hair wild and thick, he picks,
picks, then smoothes gray tufts
over the hurricane.

Half a country away,
she sees him in his easy chair, newspaper
spread on his lap, dog at his feet. Wounding.
Do dreams calm the fury?
Does a tentative scab lay down
in his sleep?

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007