Mrs. Garcia

Mark O'Brien
2420 Dwight Way, #1
Berkeley, CA 94704
(415) 841-6463

Number of lines: 30

I swear Garcia was a crazy bitch;
A nurse who liked to test my character
By swinging me about in the Hoyer lift
With just enough abandon to scare me good,
Just carefully enough so she could say:
"Now what was all the yelling about?
I didn't hurt your feet. You're in the chair.
You polios are screamers, always were."
Exhausted by the terrors of the ride,
The turnings and the dips, I didn't say
A word in my defense. She'd push me down
To Occupational Therapy, where I'd type
My skinny novel, think about revenge.
Marlene, tall, red-headed nurse, told me
"Garcia likes the way you scream. It gives
Her an excuse to hate and show the ward
How skilled she is. The hollering you do
Relives to boringness of working here."
Perceiving this, I tried to keep myself
As silent as a Charlie Chaplin flick
As I went through my next Garcia lift.
It was a scary trip, as usual.
I felt an urge to make some sound, but sounds
That wouldn't make her mad, and so I said,
"Rutabagas! Rutabagas!" "What?"
She asked and laughed a bit. "You've finally flipped."
"What's the price of rutabagas now?"
"I don't know. I hate the nasty things."
I had deprived Garcia of her fun.
It was a small revenge.

January, 1982