"The Depressed Therapist"

Alan Gilbert


There's a light at the end of the chimney we use

as a periscope in reverse, sprinkling stars

like breadcrumbs in a forest beneath a leaky

ceiling. Every landscape has its own sunset.

Please tell me more, starting with knitting.

Sometimes the false logic seems better

than the real one. Anything to help settle

the crash-test dummy's stomach. The rest

is managed by computers and whatever

comments you leave on Instagram

with its little pillow in the margins—

one day gray, one day green, one day blue.


I like watching the fireboat chug into action.

Post-studio means you send a lot of emails.

There's a violence to the hummingbird,

body hollow like a bulb skating round

and round the rink. For a while, we had to live

off of our savings, naming the ribcage Casper

or thieves. Then we went three and out,

wearing a big hat and boots, because it gets

cold on the train. Where words fail, music

fills the spaces. So when are you coming over?

I'm a terror with the DM. My heart

is expensive.


We drink vodka on the holidays to celebrate

our new ferns, our founding fathers, in a hail

of bullets and Christmas tree ornaments.

I even wore a fake beard and flannel shirt,

smelling like evergreen technology or a funny

playground. Minutes later, we stopped

on the side of the road to look under the hood,

wondering, Who brought a Super Soaker

to a sack race? We're just beads on a chain,

yet that shit runs deep, while a dog yaps

at vertebrae turning interstellar and our

squeezed-out like a sponge by the sink.


The free write didn't turn out to be so free,

though it's pure internet gold. What was I

thinking? I do standup at the laundromat

and current romance. My stage name

might be Haphazard or Left Shark before

the data gets collected, then Skype me in

along with chicken tenders since I got

my start in dinner theater. You might even

call it drama. Right next to the nail

is the hammer's indentation, and probably

many, or tomorrow's outrage replaces today's,

cigarette smoke curling above the guards. 


I see your point, and I don't know the answer.

My scarf is a bit tight around the neck,

but almost everything softens in the tub

except this spreadsheet they gave me at work

for keeping track of celebrities wearing

baggy sweatpants and ogled beach bods.

Next we drew the missing children.

Congrats on your book. I quickly switched

to a backup plan that involves laser tag

and a mirror, although it's what's on the inside

that truly matters according to the leisured class

and good student I once was.


I also used to be more moralistic. Now I steal

the traffic cones when no one's looking,

except the health insurance brokers,

the drone and satellite views. Where should

I go after school? We sent the prize through

the laundry, rubbing the surfaces until

they shine like rows of fluorescent bulbs

at the office, and trying not to do more harm

than good. The signals travel farther at night,

scraping the day away and handing out cherries.

But you'll still need to call the plumber here,

power lines snapping beneath heavy snow.

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Author Bio: Alan Gilbert is the author of two books of poetry, The Treatment of Monuments and Late in the Antenna Fields, as well as a collection of essays, articles, and reviews entitled Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight.