For David Oaks, Who Asked What It Was Like In The Asylum.
I am at McLean.
It is fall, 1966.
The leaves are brilliant.
My daughter and son will visit today.
I have brought lingerie,
new blush lace bra and girdle,
to say to myself:
"I am more than mother-of-two."
I begin to dress,
and study my name,
laundry-marked without my consent,
in the pink elastic.
I see images of white cotton
Carter's briefs for summer camp in 1946,
name-taped by my mother's needle,
red letters on white.
Thirty years now,
And McLean's black indelible stamp-letters
Say my woman's mysteries are sham.
My smooth tended skin
Cannot hold back that message.
I learn who I am here,
© Sylvia Caras, 1995