Group Therapy in the Psychiatric Ward

Chloe Honum

The counselor is passing around a black, velvet sack filled with questions. What is your idea of a perfect evening? Who is your biggest inspiration? He’s beaming, waiting for our answers. Beyond the window, autumn toys with ideas of heaven. The trees become fiercely talented and focused. Then winter.

Some say love, it is a river, I sang as a girl in school assembly. We sang standing up. I was ready to faint all that year. For five days each month, my blood came as bright as plum juice. When I finally fainted, it was as silky as I’d imagined, as if sleeping and waking were two sides of one pearl.

In any group, I want to know: Who’s the mother? The boy with the twisted body, he’s the angel. The Vietnam vet is the son. The nervous old lady is the baby. The counselor is the meddling neighbor. Now that I see a family, I can breathe. The leaves are crimson. I have something to tear down.

about the author