Bonn Psychiatric Facility
Today, I played the piano with my breasts. Why not?
They are like torpedoes, like the bosom of God.
I played Chopin and the crazy man turned the pages for me.
We tried to play a duet but my hips are too big.
They curve out in layers like onion skins.
They echo like the sounds of a bell.
Just as we began the Revolutionary Etude, he lost
his balance on the stool and down he went to the floor.
I had to play the rest from memory while he lay
there like a worm.
My breasts became bruised with all that fortissimo.
My mother used to say I have the face of the Pieta.
I do not know whether she meant gracious
or long suffering.
The problem, when it comes down to it, is the structure
of it all. A body that bleeds out of the margins of the Bible
and is still expected to be holy.
My vagina is an old pear.
Pears have always been, from the beginning of time,
For a long time, they tied me up. For my own good of course.
I had been trying to climb inside my navel, to be reborn
in the dark plum of my womb.
Boredom makes me inventive.
I had cross-stitched and painted and square danced
The crazy man visited me today. He shouldn't be in my room.
He'd heard my rays calling out to his rays.
Sometimes this happens. He kissed the top of my tiny head
and my large red body quivered.
That's all I can say about it.
Dinner was served.
And the pills came around again.
Catherine Owen is a writer and musician from Vancouver BC. Her work has recently appeared in Splash of Red, The Danforth Review, Prick of the Spindle and Poetry Salzburg. Her sixth collection is called Frenzy (Anvil Press 2009), with a seventh, Seeing Lessons, due out from Wolsak and Wynn in 2010. Frenzy recently won the Alberta Literary Award. One of her poems, White Sale, will be in the 2010 Best Canadian Poetry Anthology.