The entire ride from hospice
To the hospital
In that god forsaken town
North of Boston, where
I’d never been before
And prayerfully shall never be again –
Down the road from
The Danvers State Insane Asylum
Built in 1874
Closed in 1992
Demolished in 2007,
Most of the buildings
Connected by a labyrinth of underground tunnels
Where for over a hundred years up to two thousand revolving souls
Spent lonely tormented over crowded lives in dank brick gothic buildings
Subjected to shock therapies, lobotomies, drugs, and straitjackets.
We were held captive by
The Thing On The Doorstep,
In 1933 H.P. Lovecraft knew where to go for imagery and metaphor.
We were thrust unwanted into driving through those underground tunnels,
A maze, that town,
A snare, a web, catacombs,
Remains we could not see with our eyes but were as real as the steering wheels of our cars.
The physical world holds in its body events which have transpired.
Innocent people gunned down, girls doused in gasoline and set fire,
Thousands, millions, of spirits floating,
People lied to, betrayed, smallpox
Contaminated blankets intentionally given to Native Americans in 1763
At the siege of Fort Pitt.
We were caught in a mirage,
An endless dream, a nightmare,
Down Upton, Pickman, Durby, Salem, Innsmouth and Arkham,
My handsome brother and I
Through mountains of madness,
Each day for four days
As we drove from motel rooms to the room where
Our mother lay, dying.
One night, I insisted we take her
To the closest hospital
In an ambulance hospice
Finally, after much convincing
(Was it a place to die or a prison?),
Provided for us.
In order to determine
If my mother was really dying,
Or having a medical emergency.
If she should be receiving care
In a hospital,
Not being starved to death,
Down the road.
On the gurney,
The entire drive through those
Dark wet winter nightmarish streets with thousands of glaring
She held her arms straight up
In the air.
These are the worse experiences
When our lives are balanced
In the hands of paid strangers, when they’re
Not about love
But about nine to five:
The emergency room doctor told us our mother was dying,
Almost seven years later, and I’m still not sure.
What was she reaching for,
Was she holding the hands of spirits in the ambulance air, or
Dead thirty years.
Was she conversing,
Having tea, in a room with a hundred dead women,
Dressed in their Sunday best? Was she reaching for
Her adored father?
Dead more than seventy-five years,
Abraham, my grandfather I never met,
Who she never stopped grieving.
Or, maybe she was just trying
To steady herself on the journey
From this world to the next.
Was she reaching toward God
Who I do not recall her ever mentioning with words.
Do our bodies
Stretch toward what our minds
~ November 22, 2018