“Addictions Counselor” by Fran Markover

Fran Markover

for my clients

Sometimes, when healing words escape
I think of the gray squirrel who muscled
from the office chimney.
Whose sooty head poked through the pie plate hole
where my wood stove had stood.
The animal transfixed, my client
jumping from a chair, her story interrupted—
mother inaccessible, unfulfilled,
a daughter’s bottled angst, black-out nights.

Later, I read Addictions Professional,
of White Ladies, Red Devils, Angels’ Dust.
How each patient climbs from a different darkness.
I think of the squirrel who clawed his way
from the amazement of my building
as if he could grasp hunger, bottom, ascent—
bury the nuggets for winter’s stash.
How I chased him from room to room.
Easy Does It. Let Go. Surrender. …
Swing wide the blessed door.

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

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