Gifts and Secrets: Poems of the Therapeutic Relationship

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9780898232004: Gifts and Secrets: Poems of the Therapeutic Relationship

Wise and gracious poetry written by a therapist

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

"Secrets of the Therapeutic Relationship"
the pale eyes flashing in his dark face
the slash of cheekbone and brow
pierce me with secret pleasure
he is arresting in his pride and anger
his beauty is that of pose
of a stillness like a dancer's
but look again, he is rigid with fear, untrusting
as some lithe animal frozen in the tall grass

between therapist and client
more tender intimacies are shared
than if we two lay touching on a bed

the woman he loved got cancer, he speaks of that
she would not let him see shrunk into her bones
he whose looks invite the robust flesh of strangers
she could not imagine how endearing
he found her wizened as a baby
her hair just fuzzing in after the chemo
instead, she slipped away from him in coma
he never got to say good-bye

he gets mugged on the subway
he brings me his humiliation
deflated, he looks pitifully smaller
after being kicked in head and groin
called pretty boy as he lay helpless
and left, contemptuously, with unscarred face

I listen as he stammers, fumbling
among memories, unspent mourning and fresh outrage
full of pain and hope and future
at the end he takes my hands, so moving in his need
that I remember, for the first time in many days
why I felt called to do this work I do

his mother finds him, two weeks later, in the morning
still as the effigy of an entombed knight
his battle over cold as stone

later, at a staff party
I cast aside my workday guise, austere, sedate
to dance with such abandon
that they believe I have revealed myself at last
so sinuous in amethyst and black velvet
that I surprise them all
the doctors pompous and glassy as stuffed owls
the secretaries with their powdered breasts
they do not know that I am grieving

they do not know I loved you

Review:

Aborted Whale Watch
The Alcoholic's Grandchild
At The Beach Alone
Autumn
The Baby In Group
The Bulimic In Search Of Intimacy
Celebration
Colossa
Couple Therapy
Dad Turns Ninety
The Divorcee
Dracula's Wake
The Dwarf Gets Sober
Encapsulated Delusion
The Feminist's Incorrect Wedding Song
Fort Hill Cemetery, 1991
Frisbee Practice
Garden
Glads
Growing Peonies
Hitting Bottom
Hospital Audience
Hot Tub In The Starry Night
The Husband Speaks
I Hear The Mermaids
The Ice Storm
In The Yard
Jamie Thinks He's Always Right
The Last Firefly
The Limitations Of Therapy
Meditation
The Mermaid As She Really Is
Monarchs
Mothers
My Aunts On Both Sides With The Longevity Genes
My Father's Birthday
My Mother In Provincetown
Natural Death
New Year's 1990
Night Poem
Out Of Season
Outing
The Peaceable Kingdom
The Poet In The Garden
The Pursuer Pleads With The Distancer
The Rabbi's Wife
Return To Brooklyn
Rift
Running Around The Reservoir
Secrets Of The Therapeutic Relationship
Step Three With Whales
Stepfather
Telepathy
Their Last Gifts; For My Father, Joseph Lapidus (1899-1990)
The Threshold
Waterline
Where We Meet
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

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