Six Days in a Bird Cage

spent walking beige corridors
in shoes without laces.
Eating soggy slices of pizza
after picking off the meat.
Six days of malice
only hand I was willing to hold.

A week of greeting cards.
I read “Get well soon.”
in twenty different handwritings
and voices.
Twenty times absent of emotion;
flavorless words.

Six days with an itchy blue hospital blanket
that made me scratch throughout the night.
Five visits from family,
but not my brother’s children.
They aren’t old enough to know
that sometimes I want to leave and not come back.

Seven separate times my mother was too afraid
to release my hand,
six instances of family
saying “it’ll get better” and to “just hang in there”
but do they really know?
Can they know?

A week of intensive therapy
the doctor scribbling down notes on a pad
that I will never get to see.
Then group therapy,
school work,
more groups, lunch.

Six days in a bird cage
they finally let me out.
With my wings clipped
and no song left for me to sing.

~Thomas Dunn