“Urgent Care” by Heather Bell

Heather Bell


I begin to see a therapist because there is still plastic on my sofa. I begin
to see a therapist because there are car parts in my living room. I begin to
see what he is talking about: when he asks, “and do you have hallucinations
or hear voices?” I know he means the elephant in the bathroom. I begin to

see his point: the way the grass sits backwards, the bone saw of the moon,
the scent of jaws in milk. I begin to see a therapist, he is tall and he has
theories and the conversation changes when we talk about suicide. He
becomes more serious, I stare blankly over his head or at his nose, anything

to avoid the eyes. I begin to see a therapist and I think about God’s proximity.
I see the edges of his jacket, little strings hanging, needing to be cut. He
prescribes something to make me feel more relevant. A breeze picks up, I

see and taste today like it is a casket. I begin to see a therapist and it is
better than killing myself or seeing snow where there isn’t really any snow.
Or knowing the clock is wrong or feeling anything. An umbrella opens and

I am shocked to see my therapist in the spines, face shiny with rain, the
color of glass and shore. His face falls slowly like this was a test to see
if I would be truthful about my sadness and a smooth procession of leaves

float by like boats. I wasn’t exactly there and I begin to shift into orbit
as I schedule the next session, Thursday 10:15 a.m., bring your sadness
again, your idea of beauty, dead animals and abuse. And this time, tell
me the truth, the branches, the emptiness, the body seizing up. I begin

to see a therapist, a body, atmosphere, gourd to place something into.
I begin to sleep when I get home, I pull the wound over my head like
a blanket. I begin to sleep, this is important to note: sleep. I slept,
finally, sweat mop of hair spread over the pillow like a weak set of arms.

from Rattle #34, Winter 2010


Heather Bell: “I was recently fired from my job as a bank teller. I was feeling really sad about it, like I was a failure at life, you know. Anyway, close to my last day, a coworker turned to me and asked me how to spell ‘fair.’ I replied with the correct spelling, as well as other ways to use the word and the ways the meaning can be changed depending on the context. I think about this when I think about being a failure: that this girl had worked at this dead-end job for years, was good at it, and seemed to be happy. And yet she had to ask me, the failure, how to spell such a simple word as ‘fair.’ I feel like that is relevant, somehow, to poetry and writing and it makes me a little happy to be sitting at home writing this, unemployed, and about to write another poem.”

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