®

Today's poem is by J. W. Marshall

Sadness Therapy

On the second floor
the doors had plaques attached
to indicate the duties of their rooms.

Physical Therapy
Occupational Therapy
Chaplain and others.

Behind the Sadness Therapy door
a reproduction of Picassoís Guernica
took up most all of one wall.

And there were shelves
muddled with paper and stubby pencils
gray clay in glass jars

fringe and beads for macrame
and wood and paints and nails and glue.
Sit at that table my counselor told me

and focus on the horseís throat.
I want you to make me a model
of what you think it has to say.

I could not move.
That happens he said.
Iíll take you back to your room now.

The t.v. in my room that night
played a talk show with the horse as guest.
The audience let go some laughter

while the hacked animal
tried to reassemble
in the yellow chair beside a potted palm.

I guess, the host said,
you knew Picasso extremely well.
I turned the channel

to a sports show
where they ran a clip of the horse
crumpled over a ten-foot putt

certain to rim it
and face the derision.
I switched then to the public station

where a panel discussed Picassoís Guernica.
The author of The Definitive History
of Bombing Civilians tisked and said

the death toll certainly doesnít warrant
the size of the canvas.
He said well then imagine Hiroshima.

The critic of the use of pigment
said I figure this more
as something for plastics. Iíd rather be

walking among the jagged relics
than having to stand so far away.
The last panelist was The One True God

who said Iím simply perplexed
by such sympathetic treatment of
what was after all a box of beasts

that fell apart. Donít they all?
I turned the t.v. off.
There was no more need.

Iím ready to go home
I told the doctors on their morning rounds.
Have you made a model of the horseís voice?

Listen to me
I said
knowing the answer.



Copyright © 2007 J. W. Marshall All rights reserved
from Meaning a Cloud
Oberlin College Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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