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

First Rehab

by Sheryl St. Germain


we are relieved, the small tribe
that’s watched him
make bad decision after

bad decision, who have watched,
hearts wrung, as he disappeared
then reappeared then disappeared

from our lives like a drowning man
who doesn’t care about salvation,
we are all sadly glad, these ones

cursed to love him, that he’s decided
to enter this place for those like him—
and some of us, if we are honest—

glad he’s trying,
for a space, to become whole,
trying, for a time, to stop lying

we are here, our skin thin as parchment
our eyes ringed with grief
our hearts swollen and scarred

to visit on prescribed days, to come
together with him and his wounded
brothers to try to talk

it’s hard for us to hope, but we cling
to any worm of it         the lights
in the rooms here, after all, are so bright