When you hate what you’ve done,
that’s guilt. If you hate what you are,
that’s shame. When she’s gone
because you sang some Brahms in a bar,
what you have there is: focused regret.
If they leave you because you are “still
not yourself” (new meds not working yet)
and you Shakespeare in public—you will
never be normal, whatever that means—
and they praise you and thank you and cry
as they go, and the new psychiatrist weans
you off the old drugs, as “we might want to try”
whatever the sales rep is repping that week,
if they leave with “I love you,” don’t speak.
—from Rattle #65, Fall 2019
Jamey Hecht: “After decades as a lit professor, I became a therapist. I use poetry in my practice all the time. The two disciplines are really one. There would be no Freud without Sophocles and Shakespeare. ‘Ripeness is all …’” (web)