August 6, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Francisco Osorio photo



Lianne Kamp




The Two Headed Fish In The Emergency Room



There is nothing to do but wait

under a wall clock whose slow-dripping hands

agitate the wringing of her own, where she keeps vigil

over his attempts to curl his long limbs into a fetal

position on a mattress too narrow to contain him


There is nothing to do but wait

and witness him twist into something

unrecognizable yet fearfully familiar, as she wonders –

with his wrists tied to the bedrails, does he resemble

a question mark or a crucifixion


There is nothing to do but wait

as she searches through the revolving faces above

the uniforms for a sign that they are not lost at sea

in these unchartered and hostile tides, but all

she can find in their eyes is her own reflection


There is nothing to do but wait

as she becomes their weathered fisherman with soaking

boots and stinking clothes, who has reeled him in, this

two-headed fish, where all they can do is tread water

until they find another place to land him –


There is nothing to do but wait

while his waves of delusions lap out onto the floor

wailing down corridors, curtained and white

under a wall clock that continues to drip – while minutes

vanish into hours, hours vanish into days,


and her son washes away





Inspired by ‘Long ER waits persist in mental health crises‘ in the Boston Globe






Lianne Kamp

Lianne Kamp resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Her poems and short stories appear in assorted print journals and online publications including: Poets Reading the News, Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Scarlet Leaf Review, Poetry Quarterly, Dual Coast Magazine, and a number of Prolific Press anthologies. She writes poetry to make her world-view more panoramic by examining it more closely.

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