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To the Shrink Who Was Twice My Age FREE TO VIEW

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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “This poem isn’t true, in that I’ve never been sexually abused by a psychiatrist, and, thankfully, my father is still with us. However, I’ve had obsessive-compulsive disorder since the summer of my fifth grade, and have had more experience being a patient than I would have chosen. I had one psychiatrist who stalked me for what seemed like an endless period of time. After this experience, I wanted to write a poem about a form of abuse by a psychiatrist. I thought writing in first person would be the most effective.”

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© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians

Chest. 2012;141(6):1633. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2143
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You never charged me for your time
when I was suicidal
but came to my studio apartment
sometimes after midnight.
There, away from your office
where you were forever in a hurry
with prescriptions and the next patient
you squashed me
underneath your alcoholic belly
with what I thought was love.
You pretended to be a mind-reader
and talked to me about my dead father
as if you could be a substitute for him.
I opened my thighs to you
and let all of Purgatory in;
you said you liked religion in stirrups.
I wasn’t protected
and couldn’t stay Catholic
as fur goes where it’s hunted.
You ended our affair
and changed my diagnosis
to a delusional disorder
so your peers wouldn’t set off
bombs of disapproval and blame.
Now I go to chapel every day
because it’s the only place I can carry
my scarecrow silence.
I’m spooky as an old woman
looking through a window
with a face that doesn’t
have teeth anymore.




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