Another Thanksgiving

 

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,

Inexplicable entrapment,

A snare, a web, catacombs,

Befuddlement.

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

Blinding headlights

She held her arms straight up

Vertical,

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,

Or toward?

Was she holding the hands of spirits in the ambulance air, or

Her mother?

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

Cannot comprehend?

 

~ November 22, 2018

 

 

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