While Waiting for a Friend to Come to Visit a Friend in a Mental Hospital

eyes thieve with prickled stir:
the attendant has ideas about me

the attendant keeps watch, watching
that abrupt wild uranium grow a bat’s ears,
sardine flowers, moons’ eggs,
                                         stomach guitars,
a double-bass rump –– but he’s err:
one shrewds to his inferences,
here where the world’s sharp’d
sheen’d across with antiseptic spear

always be afar if it is challenge,
the off-shores of the eyes direct
devilishly in this “catch me” business

I have about the least to do
with white- coated attendants,
                         soft’d thither nurses,
and the sleep particles ––

stop looking
                    (–– a friend’s gone banking
and I’m waiting
                    that is all

From World’d Too Much: The Selected Poetry of Russell Atkins, edited by Kevin Prufer and Robert E. McDonough © 2019 by Russell Atkins.