The Recruit

Joan Struthers

the girl child’s loud family
called it a washstand
to her it was a prop

it’s the older sibling
SHE’S SINGING MUMMY
MAKE HER STOP

the girl child says nothing
she sits and writes alone
at the end of the hall
the loud ones
don’t like her drawing
she continues
to draw something
YOUR DRAWING IS UGLY
WHAT IS IT
it’s nothing
I’m drawing nothing
WHAT IS IT
the girl child screams
IT’S AN UGLY MONSTER
she draws it again

A ward is open
B ward is locked
quick
feed her pills
a cup full of pills
4 times a day
the girl child is 14

YES
inject her
with Sodium Pentothal
she might tell the truth
she says nothing
her 16th birthday
was spent in A ward
promise me doctor Richard
the girl child pleaded
no-one’s going to incarcerate you
there there
doctor Richard promised
environmental
the cause
offered on her hospital file
and
the girl child
was discharged
after 2 months
once she’s had a break
away from you
the loud family
far away from you
she will do fine in say
6 months from now

A ward is open
B ward is locked
quick
feed her pills
a cup full of pills
4 times a day
the girl child is 14

her aunt was waiting
seated in the terminal
waiting
to greet the girl child
before the plane landed

she knows
not where
her beloved prop is
with the marble bench top
one day
she might find it
In some antique shop
her prop
or one
that mirrors
her memory of it

The Recruit