At Western Psych
On the dayroom TV screen, the Gladiator
hallucinates in the desert. Golden lions and
ghost horses scream. Filmed light flickers
like tears on drugged un/watchful faces.
Everyone is shoeless, their socks dark green.
The water fountain is bandaged in a towel,
leaking like a bad burn. The inmates
queue to drink the dribble, scolded
by a pony-tailed guardian with a clipboard:
People! People, I said wait your turn.
At a café table, a girl with a purple bob
murmurs to an official guest: Don’t tell
anybody where I am. I need to keep
my job. Impassive as his calfskin briefcase,
the neck-tied visitor makes a note, nods.
A woman in a sweater draped like a cowl
turns away. Her limp sleeves spasm
as she covers the whiteboard in blue:
I know one thing. And it’s true. i know
Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to email@example.com. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.