by Ute Carson
Published in Reese Tyler Award in Poetry Volume 2007, Inkpot Press
Third place in the Eugene Walter Writers' Festival Vivian Smallwood Poetry Competition 2006.

Your depression is like a haunted house
With all the windows facing in.
You wander through the labyrinth
Getting caught by ghosts and spider webs,
While I stand at the entrance
With the keys of my experience
And cannot get in.

Your body is frozen in silence
Dead to my touch.
Your shoulders rounded into a bow
With muscles taught like strings.
Only tremors rippling across the back of your hands
Answer me.

Your shaggy dog,
Coiled up like you on the soiled mattress,
His damp, trusting eyes
Riveted on your every twitch
Knows that sooner or later the spell will break
And he will be let out to run and play.
I too wait, sitting in the lone chair, thinking.

"Getting tired of me?" you ask.
When hours later I take my leave
And drive away, you stand in your front yard
Lifting your right arm into the air,
A jerky gesture like a puppet.
I wave vigorously
As if wiping fog off the window,
Until I round the next corner.

Once out of sight
I pull over,
Slump over the steering wheel
And weep.

- ~ -