outpatient, i

outpatient, i


It’s Not What I Wear by Flavia Testa

petite, dark-haired girl of 28,
mother of one, fourth year
nursing student, casually
tells me her rotation on the
psych ward was the least
“nothing much to do” &
“so many of them are just
taking advantage of the
system. it’s terrible to
say, but it’s true.”

at home, I consider the
resources at hand
the antidepressant workbook
suggests positive thinking,
setting reasonable goals,
and rewarding yourself
for small accomplishments,
such as taking a shower.

the receptionist is
sympathetic but firm.
3 phone lines alight, she
smiles and nods indicating
she has seen me & will be
with me in a moment.
I wonder if I am too well
dressed for this. Should
I still be in my pyjamas and
exhibiting ticks round
the mouth and hands (early
on-set of tardive dyskinesia)
Will they stamp “faker” in
clear black letters on my file
and send me on my merry way?
(would this be a relief?)
a cued-up lull allows her
to compliment the brooch on
my jacket, mention dollar store
earrings and a side fact about
the royal couple.
perhaps I have fooled her.
perhaps I have not.

About Bonnie MacLeod

Bonnie MacLeod is a poet and performer from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her work has appeared in Joypuke II, In/words, and Chrysalis zine. Her work has also been featured in performance at the Necessary Angel Theatre Company, Freakshow Variety Show, and Lumiere Festival. She was an invited reader at the Saint Mary's University Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Culture in 2015 and the recipient of the Joyce Marshall-Hsia Memorial Poetry Prize in 2010. Currently, she is employed with the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site and finishing her first poetry collection on the experience of mental illness in Cape Breton.

About Flavia Testa

Flavia Testa writes: It is a privilege to call myself an Artist. I hope to observe and translate what I see and feel into something that most people can enjoy visually and from which no one feels excluded. I've been creating work since I was a child and have turned that work outward, into a lifelong conversation with myself and others. I am a wife and a mother of three vivacious teenagers. I have never lost that thrill-seeking spark that keeps things fresh!

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