Autumn Lee
imprisoned souls

the black abandoned building leaked an unsettling aura/ echoes of a trapped child soundlessly screaming into nothingness permeated the air/ inside the brick walls lurked the pains of another world/ a misunderstood world that all onlookers passed by with eye balls glued to the sidewalk and lips puckered together slowly whistling…drowning out the noises from within/ files tucked away in cabinets told the story of imprisoned patients scribbled out by the hands of confused doctors/ desperately trying to make sense of the insanity/ trying to find the cause of this “sickness”/ while the rest of the world remained a safe enough distance away to deny these victims existence completely—laughing, playing—avoiding, at all costs, the screams of the asylum…

but we are all
a little crazy…

her 4’6’, chubby body melts into the lunch chair next to mine—a mutated 21-year-old whose retardation prevents her to swim/ but i don’t know how to fly…/ my fingers are painted a glazy perfectly balanced silver color/ hers are too—hot pink, oozing onto the edge of her jittery fingertips/ childlike/ “nice nail polish,” i say with a smile/ “thanks” and then she looks at mine/ “they’re very messy” as embarrassment creeps up into her face/ i wish i hadn’t said it…

oozing, hot pink, childlike/ the shameful face of my nana lying in her hospital bed raising her wrinkled neck to look down at her sandpaper hand/ “they look like a 2-year-old did ‘em”, she whispers slowly (the stroke took away her ability to speak at a normal volume)/ her body then cripples back into the fetus position as she blankly stares into the wall/ eyes watering/ making me wish my nails weren’t painted—then maybe she wouldn’t feel so different

they all cower in the corner of their prison cells behind bars of shame/ raising their
heads occasionally to see if there is anyone left watching who cares, anyone who is not outside merely laughing and pointing/ and i want
to be different, to be the girl who saves them so i reach my hand in but they refuse to grab hold/ i am just another confused doctor to them making up explanations for their
soundless cries/

we are all a little crazy/ all a little trapped
all struggling/ all misunderstood/
i just wish my fingernails weren’t painted