Oregon State Hospital

Roberto Cabrera performs his Protactile poem “Oregon State Hospital”

translated from the Protactile by John Lee Clark

Wandering in the museum
I came across a woman’s story.

Let us conjure her up
in the form of a fist.

First, they knocked her head
and they said, Tsk-tsk.

Next, they zapped her
and they said, Huh.

Next, they shone lights in her face
and they said, Phooey.

Finally, they bored a hole here
and another here.

Her head tilted gently to the side
and they said, Aha.

Copyright © 2023 by Roberto Cabrera. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 13, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.