Adolescent Ward

By: RJ Robertson-DeGraaff

Woke up
a pulsating lump in a shell

Collecting diagnoses like
candies in a jar
all crinkling together
while grubby little hands
shake the container,
I like the burn of the cinnamon discs
in the sores I’ve chewed into my cheeks.

I’m told I sleep like a corpse
that was the idea
I’m told they washed and redressed me
They’ve taken my shoelaces

We’re meant to go play in the courtyard
with the rotting husk of summer,

I think I’ll rest here a while.



RJ Robertson-DeGraaff is a college student at Western Michigan University who works part time as a dance instructor. He grew up in Vicksburg, MI. In his spare time he might be found cooking, playing DND with his friends, having craft sessions, and often writing.