“The Nurse in the Terrible Doorway” by Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson


calls my name, a clipboard
cocked on her hip. The cold eye
of her stethoscope
sneers, dangling from her neck
like wild, constricting Fate,
and I rise
from the chair I’ve been hating,
from these thoughts I can’t get out
and everyone I love needs
me to rise, needs me back
to who I was, that person who
the dark shapes didn’t seize
and whose fingers didn’t have
little mouths, chewing on everything.
Past the white halo
of her lab coat,
I see the long hallway,
the lights and the linoleum
racing into a terminal dot,
clinical art on the walls, paintings
of prescription labels,
doors like funhouse mirrors,
and my reflection already inside
but not yet
cured, never cured.

from Rattle #19, Summer 2003


Eric Anderson: “On Monday nights, I bowl. Bowling alleys are proof that poetry can be found anywhere. The old men give me advice and offer me poems; they have names for all the pins they leave, calling them the Greek Church, the Sour Apple, the Bucket, the Mother-in-Law. I encourage everyone to join a league; never has my name seemed so true as it does on my bowling shirt.”

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