when you walk on the psych ward

you leave your empathy at the door

you slam the door in people’s faces

you speak with them in awkward places

you lie to them with empty words

they tell you things that seem absurd

it’s an awkward sort of back-and-forth

as strange diseases take their course

you see chairs thrown across the halls

you see blood splattered on the walls

you hear them scream from phantom pains

you hear them when they call you names

you read the charts, the nurses’ notes

you readjust another dose

and then you run to take a break

but find that it’s a huge mistake

for in the two minutes you were gone

a thousand things have all gone wrong

and as you try to control the flood

with ativan pumped straight into their blood

you find yourself yelling and screaming and moaning

ducking from chairs and ignoring their groaning

as once more you swear to do this no more

you realise you left empathy at the door


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