July 12, 2011

Kate Gleason

WHILE READING SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN AND AMNESTY
INTERNATIONAL
BETWEEN CALLS AT THE HELP
HOTLINE, MY CO-WORKER ASKS ME WHY THERE’S
NO THERAPISTS-WITHOUT-BORDERS

The mother of the suicide bomber
who entered a temple with his own idea of heaven

strapped to his body will never come to see us,
nor the woman who carried her fetus nearly full term

till it stopped moving at a check point,
nor the man whose young daughter was forced to be a soldier

and “bush wife” to some rebel commander—stories
beyond anything talking could cure.

* * *

Scientists say every galaxy has its black hole.
They’re working in concert with a thousand telescopes

to photograph what they visualize as a squashed teardrop.

* * *

Grief has its own clock, a face under hands.

* * *

We know that time and space
create an intricate fabric, dented where things

rest heaviest. Where nothing is strongest,
a little funnel forms.

* * *

What do we know of use to the parents of those children?

* * *

A singularity
produces unfathomable gravity.

* * *

What void would that eight-year-old’s father hear
in our taught response:

“How do you feel about that? Can you say a little more?”

from Rattle #34, Winter 2010
Tribute to Mental Health Workers