Passing another client at the psychiatrist's office

Buttoning my coat, I am walking
down the thick carpeted stairs

as he is walking up, unbuttoning his.
We pass, turning our heads

away from each other as if we
were attached in the same swivel of shame.

Me dressing, him undressing, as it were,
to bare himself in the office

at the top of the staircase
as I just did;

me feeling the afterglow,
him anticipating

the fifty minute hour, the comfort
of unburdening Ė a winterís

indoor interlude. Thatís why we turn
away. To avoid in each other

the truth of our inadequacy:
we must come to this place

not our homes not our wives not our
lovers not our friends not ourselves

to feel the weightlessness of our troubles
rise above us like a fog.

Outside, I am greeted by the cold slap
of freezing December.

I struggle with the cold aluminum handle
to get into the car

cold seeping into my belly
cold of years that will never thaw.

I want to be back up those stairs.
Five minutes out and already my head is in my hands.

Myles Gordon is a writer living in Newton Massachusetts. A past
recipient of the Grolier Poetry Prize, he currently works as a
television producer at a Boston network affiliate. His poetry has
appeared in about two dozen journals.

© 2005 Underground Voices