Word Painting of a Psychiatrist
When I first saw you,
curled in toadstool of mind’s eye,
I wanted to learn how to paint
so that I could explain colorly
the conversation of your skin tones,
the shock talk of hues that was your body.
I wanted to convey the pickled awe
at the inside of my throat as I looked on you.
Even at 16 I knew what you were: wunderkammer,
a madness of sense-awakening things,
astonishment soup and wonder mushrooms
in a boy shape, you most treasured
cabinet of curiosities, you.
But I cannot paint, so I explain you wordily.
First, I talk about your very dark hair,
much-coveted and positively full of wolves.
It moves when you move, as though you were
the wind blowing that hairy planet.
Blackstar, blackbird, fly me somewhere
on those unfathomable strands.
Next I talk about your smile.
Wry on the rocks, Cheshire-Cat-style,
a jaunty, crooked marvel, peeking out of
conspicuously unsmiling crowds, like a frozen margarita
in a world of compulsory milk,
that moves when you talk, but never leaves.
Then I describe your ears, a little big, maybe,
but this is what makes them perfect.
One day, I have a wild vision of swimming in them,
an ear-fish in waxy waters. While inside,
I discover that those aural cavities of yours are awash
with Thumbelinas and convenience stores for fairy folk.
As I leave, I swear I see the tiny headlights of a clown troupe
spreading out of your acoustic organs, lighting my way.
Finally, I add your eyes to the equation.
Neck plus shoulders plus these shining things equals you:
Someone who crouches close to see the villagers’ pain,
peers into brain valves and mind machinery,
eases the ache of neural connections,
goes at endless melancholy with a wrench.
I remember when I was crying and you
told me with those nervy orbs everything I needed.
I knew then that this is what you did for all those people
in your factory of gentleness,
where you keep the invisible things
that matter most to people