Therapist Intern

This is the journey I have been on since August. This is the reason my poems went from being delivered Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday, then a few times not at all. I am finding my groove though! And writing poetry is more important than ever :)

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Therapist, Intern

I have not written about fall yet,
because I have been busy interning part time
and going to school part time
which adds up to Fulltime
and poetry requires this currency,
To Imagine and Investigate Mystery and Memory Enough.
Such a bougie life I’ve had thus far,
two decades raising and nurturing children,
nurturing and raising words and feelings.
Such luxury to languish.
So many Moments I’ve caressed,
such monuments to minutiae.

No more, ALLthis working and schooling.
I am purposeful now.
On a lanyard, I wear a magnetic key
which opens two locked doors.
I wear flats and have sessions every 60.
My lunch is an hourglass and when people
stop to chat in the hallway,
each word is a grain of sand.
I walk at my break,
twenty minutes out and I reach the edge of town
where farm houses are settled amid pasture,
where emotion just cloistered expands like clouds,
stratus, cirrus, cumulus.
I finally understand why people make a big deal about vacations
and don’t clean their gutters
and want to live in condos without lawns to care for
and don’t recycle and open
a bottle of wine every evening.

October is when our schedules fill up
I am told. I am given a windowless office,
which I cozy with twinkle lights,
the bookshelf populates with titles such as
The Body Keeps Score, Wired for Love,
When Things Fall Apart.

I place pillows with fringe on the
generic conference chairs,
the fringe is tenderly played with.
I have a little fan for those who sweat with anxiety,
and a bamboo plant whose leaves
are tenderly touched.
The days get shorter, first frost and suddenly,
I have back to back bookings.
I wake at four every morning, unable to sleep.
My partner parts my legs and I must
tether myself to his tongue to stop thinking
about my fledgling caseload of clients.
Their inner lives are laid before me with a simple,
How are you?
My teenage children respond only fine to such query.

I am Darwin, diviner, I am dream detective.
I am entrusted with stories,
serrated and tempestuous, tender and tragic,
they are the stuff of ballads and blues songs.
They are heavy and old as stones,
they are bottomless buttonless seas
with yet undiscovered species.
My days become a mantra,
You are not crazy, look what you have endured.

I am given yellow legal pads for taking notes.
I prefer copy paper, white and blank.
I have a coffee cup holding thin magic markers
that splay like coffee stirrers, 
they ask what color is your sadness, what hue your comfort?
L.O.N.E.L.Y. I write for one young woman.
I draw a bottle with her emotions tightly corked,
we fill it with shaken sadness and fizzy anger,
we talk about opening the cap slowly,
we talk about metabolizing grief,
that we aren’t meant to do it A.L.O.N.E.
I draw circles and we divide trauma into pie pieces
titling them raped at 15, mother using,
foster care, husband died when my son was 2.

I teach clients self-regulation skills with an acronym called TIPS.
We discuss
Intense Exercise
Paced Breathing or Pressure
Sensation such as Scent, Skin and Sound.
I ended the day with a teenager with anger issues,
drawing a rudimentary boat on choppy water,
I labelled the waves, high school, addiction, adolescence.
I talked about having enough ballast in his boat
to not tip over when water floods his decks.
Ballast’s synonyms are safety,
connection, interests, JOY.
I gave him ice to hold,
he ignored the paper towel I provided,
letting cold water drip onto his pants.
He showed me a poem he wrote about wanting more
connection with his father, it was epic, it was better than my prose.
I began the day with a five year old with anger issues.
we rolled a frozen orange back and forth, sitting on the floor.
He showed me how hard he could hit the fringed pillow.

I was born for this,
And I shouldn’t be allowed.
This intimacy, this trust.
Between appointments I bend at my waist,
let my shoulders and head hang toward the ground,
let the ground absorb my clients’ struggles,
let the earth receive my struggle to hold them.