Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Diary of 56 Days in an Israeli Psychiatric Hospital

by J. R. Solonche

And on the first day
they stared at him
as he shaved and he showered

And on the second day
one introduced himself to him
and he had scars on both wrists
and they stared at him
as he shaved and he showered
and they gave him bitter cigarettes
and they gave him breakfast

And on the third day
he taught himself
to smoke the bitter cigarettes
they gave him before breakfast
and the one with scars on both wrists
showed him the rope-burn on his throat
and they stared at him
as he shaved and he showered

And on the fourth day
another one introduced himself
and he asked him for a bitter cigarette
and he had skin like goat’s milk
and eyes like the blue sky
and he asked him if he were an angel
and he said that yes he was
and he asked him if he would fly for him
and he said that yes he would
and they stared at him
as he shaved and he showered

And on the fifth day
he played chess with a Polish poet and lost
and at noon he flew for the one
with the skin like goat’s milk and the eyes like the sky
and when he came back to earth
he asked him for three bitter cigarettes
and they stared at him
as he shaved and he showered

And on the sixth day
the one with the scars on both wrists
and the rope-burn on his throat
showed him a picture of his mother
and they no longer stared at him
as he shaved and he showered

And on the seventh day
the one with skin like goat’s milk and eyes like the sky
asked him for all his bitter cigarettes
and the one with scars on both wrists
and a rope-burn on his throat and the picture of his mother
asked him to teach him how to fly
and he said that yes he would
for all his bitter cigarettes

Walk around the room seven times
and seven times chant the foregoing