Interpreting the Signs
by Susan Major
She’s flexible, like Gumby,
is what I’m thinking
as she folds impossibly long legs
under her body
and spins in her swivel chair,
her notebook between us like a shield.
She’s 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 you’re crazy?
She says, Do you think I’m crazy?
At the drugstore the pharmacists work
on an elevated platform,
drug gods gazing at their subjects below.
At home she says she won’t 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 she’s moody, she’s young.
I’m sure other kids slump on the bathroom floor,
cry oceans for hours and pray for death.
I’m 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
there’s a sigh and a pencil tap
when I tell her we’re watching and waiting.
She disapproves of course,
but very diplomatically.
I tell her I don’t think she’s crazy
but secretly I wonder.