Magazine article The Antioch Review

Asylum Ophelia: Surrey, 1848

Magazine article The Antioch Review

Asylum Ophelia: Surrey, 1848

Article excerpt

by Jennifer Franklin

By day, I sort colored beans, Banishing each one to its separate pile, Counting and recounting; barley, millet,

Poppy, lentil, peas. I say their names As each finger pushes them to their proper Rank. Everything is defined by its outside.

They call me Psyche when I sit At the smooth table, driving the small grains Into the light. I have so many names,

All beautiful, all unlike the deceiver I am. I know that at night these grains Will be gathered together again to sleep,

Tight upon each other, unsorted and omniscient In a glass jar. The white dresses I am made To wear and wash are long and delicate,

Eyelet butterflies. If I had feather eyes, I could see through them when the doctors Make me pose in garlands and cape

For the open lens, the cure. Once they start on us They never stop. Only when we twist our face Into fantastic curves and curls do they let us go

Back down the long corridors to our rooms. …

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