Shorter works

Grandma’s wallpaper

I sing into my pill bottle
Prescribed for an aching mind
You and I both sing in turn
Your tone curdling
Mine plaintive
Looking for the truth—or just not to be lied to

Not to have my intestines unsettled
By the marching bellies of restless ants
Your chemical army of well-wishers
Trying to convince my body to change
Singing its curdling yell: You are better this way
And my mind aches more and more

And more pills are in my hand
Tacky with sweat
Clinging to my palm as that curdling rhetoric lines my mind
As proud as grandma’s tasteless wallpaper
Once the envy of every street in town
Now shamefully concealed by queuing relatives
Taking turns to hide that pattern
Their shame an umbrella against a simple ancient truth
Which shines as the sun through a break in the sooty clouds of those writhing ants
Laughing: That pattern, that pattern, how could she?

But my mind is already aching with the sight
As I plaintively mutter:
I’ve taken them
As I sink lower within my body, chanting:
I believe
As my heart admires grandma’s wallpaper
Courage fleeing the scene, laughing
Clouds closing back in

She nods her approval