I would like to fill myself
with definite meaning.
A brief history of psychiatry—
seemed like a good idea at the time.
A lobotomy patient shot the inventor.
Of lobotomies, I mean.
was once awarded the Nobel Prize.
Also, the history of evil spirits.
Trepanation. Burr holes. Water treatment.
I would like to fill myself with self
Later we meet for coffee.
You’re wearing your blue windbreaker.
I drink decaf although it’s only 10 am.
I tell you as soon as I know it’s me in here.
I do want to spill out of this timing.
I have normal desires.
Please bring me a peach.
I want to stop taking the pills.
The proper rate of withdrawal—five
percent less than last month’s dose.
Hopefully, I’ll have a red dream
but won’t be overwhelmed by it.
Literally, I’m dividing out granules.
Meanwhile, I’m an elliptical being.
Who I was in a past life.
I cowered under every prefrontal cortex.
In my walking into a man in a science coat.
Blank dark lost time going under like this.
No, I haven’t forgotten about time.
No, not ever this.
Hole in head, the burr hole
A man still believes in trepanation today—
I read about him on Wikipedia.
My body as visited by spirits.
Oh, how that swells.
How to bend the best light.
How to. One foot in front of the other.
Neuroleptics are today’s response.
The acute dose like living in a sand wall.
Grainy there. Stuck in tar.
In a hospital museum in Bruges,
I beheld the trepanation toolkit.
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
The only way to cure the headache
is to drink eight glasses of blank
a day, then tell me about it,
then write it down.
All the eyes in this place.
Okay, what drill do you propose we use?
The best treatment for right now.
Or is it. Where the money goes.
Even I knew the woman with the full-
moon eyes was deeply crazy.
The story of pharmacopeia
or what happened previous to all that.
Searching into this history or a pile
of boxes in my swelling
What’s happening now can’t be
clearly seen and that’s the trouble with
You didn’t, that was not you.
Old suitcases and such.
What’s leftover in the asylum attic?
In a previous spirit, I lost one pair
of fine shoes, a silk slip.
Colored pencils, three letters.
Mostly, though, I want all the
Trembling dark pits.
To go there some nights.
Normal really is a serious word.
One whole body, sloughed off, made
fresh tangerine new.
I mean, like biting into a piece
of juicy, bursting fruit.
If I ask you.
I don’t ask you.
Another story, but this one about
Held in place by a heaven.
Then below, a body upon an earth.
Oh, to be several million
grains of glass-made sand.
Or to be a picnic with a striped blanket
in the middle of an empty beach.
That’s the story.
A body, wanting to know.
Jenny Drai is the author of three full-length collections of poetry (Wine Dark, The History Worker, and [the door]), two poetry chapbooks, and Letters to Quince, winner of the Deerbird Novella Prize from Artistically Declined Press. She currently lives in Dortmund and works as a translator and English teacher. She is online at jennydrai.com, where she blogs about historical and literary oddities, neurodivergence, and transatlantic life.