Why I Hate Therapy
by Sara K. Penrod
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
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Why I Hate Therapy
This isnít my first time in therapyó
first when I was five, after watching
an electric company worker die
of electrocution and fall to my front yard
like Icarus, scorched wings and burned
hands still twitching; when I was eight,
after my father ran off with my college fund
and a woman firefighter; at ten, when my fatherís
fourth wife smacked me across the living room
of her apartment, breaking my nose, and bled
all over her white carpet; when I was thirteen,
after leaving a suicide note in my motherís lunch.
This time is no different.
I sit in your leather chair, my hair
hiding my face. You ask if Iíve lost
weight recently; I shrug. When you ask
how I sleep, I tell you I hardly sleep,
wake frequently. I donít tell you
about the fragments of dream
stuck like pottery shards in my face
when I wake up too early, too often.
I donít tell you much; I know you resort
to noting my body language on your legal pad.
I am conscious of observation
from the moment I walk into
your office, when I sit down to wait
in those black directorsí chairs.
I move aside outdated magazines,
reject Newsweek, People,
Martha Stewart Living. I pick up
a weekly science journal three months old
and read the few articles I understand.
You donít look at what Iím reading.
Instead, you ask me about my writing.
I tell you Iíve written about everything
from dead bugs caught in my kitchen window
to a preacher having a midlife crisis. You point out
the dead roach in your fluorescent light.
I look up so I donít have to make eye contact
and say the shape is too vague to prove
that itís a roach for sure. You say,
sometimes you just know things.
Why donít you tell me what you know
about whatís going on. I stop smiling,
stare at a news article about you
and bonsai trees. I canít tell you.