Cynthia Bargar

Locked Ward

Winston & Sterling walk me from admitting
up two flights to the top floor.

The stench of urine has me dizzy.
I ask where the phone is.

No calls here, Sterling smiles.
This here is not a hotel, missy.

You play hearts? Winston asks.
& as I fumble my answer
Sterling warns, stay cool missy,
stay cool.

How You Get Here

you hide all day numb
in your bed built on stilts
above your unused desk
in your tiny room
in your large commune
with your small schemes
to kill yourself
at night

night comes
you lie still
imagine yourself
a corpse

wake furious
to be alive
your lack
of courage

take the doctor’s free samples
in their pop-out packaging
one blue pill
& you rise

swallow a few more
& you spin
say I’m cured    &
vacate the room

no longer alone
you go out drinking
snort some lines
smoke some weed

you cannot stop
your body
a constant state of arousal
you sleep with strangers every night

this is psycho mind
the one where you say
when they ask how are you

& it’s better
it’s sparkling   it’s jammed
full of world-changing ideas
daring deeds

you walk into Concord Prison
microphone in hand
video camera on your back
say I am a TV reporter
here to interview Emo Landry
– sure miss no problem

the guard brings Emo
you sit on the floor
behind the desk
& from your portapak
you pull the six pack
& the cigarette pack
filled with joints
neatly rolled

your job done
your 20 minutes up
& you are sure Bret
in the high-ceilinged apartment
downstairs from your best friend
wants to marry you
wants to take you
as his bride

you walk in uninvited
find him in the bathtub
step over the lip
& submerge
before you make the call
to Rabbi Wexler      he’s known you
……………since you were a child
ask him to officiate

you call
all your friends
invite them to your wedding
someone calls your therapist
& right about the time
you set
for the festivities to begin
you find yourself here
in the locked ward
at Glenside Hospital

© Cynthia Bargar

Cynthia Bargar’s poems have appeared in the journals LUMINA Online, Gargoyle, Driftwood Press, Apeiron Review, Sonic Boom, The Centrifugal Eye, and are forthcoming in Stoneboat Literary Journal. She is the Managing Editor of Pangyrus LitMag ( and lives in Boston and Provincetown, Massachusetts.


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