When Does the Strange Lady Leave?
by Anna Jacobson
At my appointment my doctor
tells me I need to go into hospital
to change over my meds--
that I have acute anxiety. Halfway
through speaking she recoils. I ask
if she's seen a giant spider. No,
a cockroach, would it upset you
if I kill it? It climbs through patient
files 124-698 from 2020. She squishes
the roach in her fingers
with a tissue. It upsets me more
than I thought.
I want to time the hospitalization
so I can make it to my best-friend's
wedding. I'm a bridesmaid.
The roach crawls from bin to floor
using prehistoric powers. She stomps
on it five times. I think that can
be arranged, she says. I buy
my family four vanilla-custard
doughnuts to break the news.
Mum gives me a plant cutting
in a jar of water to keep in my room
until my admission day. Gardenias
leak tears from hidden cracks. My bro
drives me to the chemist. We get stuck
behind a bus that asks r u ok?
to the lyrics of everything's
gonna be alright.
The previous day my bro asked
my parents: when does the strange lady
leave? Today we make dinner together.
I put oranges in a salad and sauté
onions, forget to cry.
Anna Jacobson is an award-winning author and artist from Brisbane. Amnesia Findings (UQP, 2019) is her first full-length poetry collection, which won the 2018 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. In 2020 Anna won the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing and was awarded a Queensland Writers Fellowship. Her website is www.annajacobson.com.au
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Photo used under Creative Commons from John Donges