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