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Painted Brain | Social Work In America By Jane M. Engleman
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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  • February 24, 2017

Social Work in America by Jane M. Engleman



Mental illness was a headache,

a car accident,

a missing mother,

a weird flutter of the eye,

before he got swept to the edge

before he got flung headlong

into the jagged bubbles,

blood-streaked spray of an emergency

from which you pretend to drag him,

chained, wild, freaking, by now

buddy-buddy with the rocks

and the frozen dead.


You could have given him

a home, at first bewildered along

the easy river, could have modeled

courage, swam with him to the bank,

but you couldn’t decide: expense, risk,

scrap? You chose to have him go on

over and now they’ve got him,

the currents and stones,

and they’ve got you, too.

your proud degree, your red-painted skiff,

your little lines, your shell of kindling,

your department watching with looks

of horror and twenty-thousand

exclusive peer-reviewed books

on the safety of the cliffs.

  • Categories:

  • Poetry

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