A Therapist’s Report

By Arleen Levine

Sometimes the emptiness of a single soul
in the universe
Brings breath-stopping fear to her.
A gasp is heard
As she seeks warmth and lively energy
A deep look into my face,
iris to iris, seeking
Can return her to even breathing.

A cigarette,
smoke filling the interior with cloudy gray
And forcing the breath
to return to
inhale, exhale
Like a mantra
Is used to stabilize angst.

Cocaine is effective
Making time stop
A room becomes a container
for the body
And the soul goes elsewhere
Floating, as if in a pool of water
Relieving the psyche. A respite
Until alas the return
to uneven breathing.

Medicine with a long name
Jiggles in a clear plastic vial
assuring safety to escape
By the FDA, MD, and journal of medicine.
This time blood is ejected
to test damage
And the dirty danger of street drugs is eliminated.

Except when
Uppers, downers and stayputs
collide in her vessels
And never consult
the soul, heart and mind
To ask about
love, irises and mantras.


Arleen Levine, Board Certified Art Therapist, Licensed Psychoanalyst, Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice, is Clinical Coordinator, Center School, working with emotionally disturbed/neurologically impaired young people. She has lectured internationally.

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