Interpreting the Signs

by Susan Major


Shes flexible, like Gumby,
is what Im thinking
as she folds impossibly long legs
under her body
and spins in her swivel chair,
her notebook between us like a shield.

Shes telling me my daughter is crazy,
but very diplomatically,
as her pen flies lightly across
her thick prescription pad.

Later at the train stop I say,
Do you think youre crazy?
She says, Do you think Im crazy?

At the drugstore the pharmacists work
on an elevated platform,
drug gods gazing at their subjects below.
At home she says she wont take the pills.
I put them away on a high shelf,
still in their paper bag, stapled with the receipt.

Little gyroscopes twirl in my head
the doctor snapped to judgment,
of course shes moody, shes young.
Im sure other kids slump on the bathroom floor,
cry oceans for hours and pray for death.
Im sure other kids stay up all night,
for several nights,
and burn with a thousand crowded ideas.

Each time my daughter phones
or walks through the door
there is a frozen second
before I can map her words
or read her body.
And when the doctor calls
theres a sigh and a pencil tap
when I tell her were watching and waiting.
She disapproves of course,
but very diplomatically.
I tell her I dont think shes crazy
but secretly I wonder.


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