August 12, 2003
That Barcode Girl wept today in Group, forced
to tell a story that made her feel alone.
She refused, said she knew what it would do to her,
said she knew the memories in the air would
but they raped her.
They didn’t pin her down, a forearm across her chin,
pushing harder as she quietly cried;
they simply shaped her thoughts with words until she
laid on her back
and found herself somewhere else.
When it was over, she lost her breath,
wobbly-drunk from failed escape and
the wave of an almost forgotten feeling.
They carried her away,
sobbing as she screamed, “I need her.”
A girl named Kim once whispered to me through a
that she needed me.
It turned my chest to tar,
like that feeling you get walking into a courtroom
or climbing the stairs to your apartment, knowing
there will be an eviction notice on your door.
I didn’t need Kim. I didn’t need anyone –
I had always felt complete on my own until I met
I don’t remember what my response to Kim was,
but it was more than likely a lie.
Someone who is whole never needs to be untruthful.
Today I woke up feeling what I’ve known I feel,
but haven’t felt in some time.
I was terrified. I missed you.
I was hopeful,
and fought to hang onto the edge of a dream, but
could only recall an empty country road
I did not recognize. Dusty dirt met the pavement
just below the guardrail.
Beyond that, I’ve lost the image.
I hope to see you soon.
This selection comes from the poetry collection, Letters To My Lover From Behind Asylum Walls, available from Cosmographia Books. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.
Robin’s work has been published in various magazines and journals, including Across the Margin, Shot Glass Journal, Red Bird Chapbooks, The Cerurove, Yes Poetry, and Pidgeonholes.
- The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: lithopaedion by Carrie Nassif - June 9, 2023
- Interview with Joy Ladin, Author of Impersonation - June 8, 2023
- The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: lithopaedion by Carrie Nassif - June 8, 2023