What the Social Worker Says Vs What She Hears

Good morning – I’m the social worker appointed
to you. My name is James. How are you feeling today? 

         Are you      eager     do you     want it


Can you tell me your name?

         How can I       fasten        you to me


Do you have any family? Is there anyone I can contact?

        You are a whisk broom          

        something I can use       dry        old                  

I’ll take you             

                      You will do


I’ve brought some fresh blackberries from my
garden… I thought you might like some?

I’ll take pity on you     
give you

         your longings, ship them into your many


I like to watch you want


I’m glad you like them. My wife is responsible…
I definitely do not have a green thumb!

We all mean harm

          but later, and    

     maybe—not now, 

     or for sure


I understand you don’t or aren’t able to talk, 

but I wonder, can you understand what I’m saying?


Wreckage is a breath away

          You had better do the right / the wrong

          thing—what I am / am not wanting—

                     predict me.


I only want to discover a little bit more 

about you, so I can help you. 


The wheels that guide me

will trample you




Elisabeth Blair is a poet and multidisciplinary creative. Her publications include a full-length collection, because God loves the wasp, forthcoming from Unsolicited Press (2022); two chapbooks, “without saying” (Ethel Press 2020) and “We He She/It” (Dancing Girl Press 2016); and poems published in a variety of journals, including Feminist Studies, cream city review, and Juked. Based in Vermont and Montréal, she leads poetry workshops and works as a freelance editor and manuscript consultant. www.elisabethblair.net