by Denise Fletcher
We are gathered together this evening. All of us who struggle with melancholy or isolation. Time to air our feelings and share our inner world with anyone who is willing to listen.
The chairs in the basement rearranged in a circle anxiously wait for members to join. Everyone instructed to bring their best work for critique. It’s Poem in Your Pocket Day.
Dorothy Parker is here. She plans on reading Resume. Theodore Roethke holds In a Dark Time. The church hall is filling up now. Emily Dickinson ventures out to meet her fellow sufferers. She will read The soul selects her own society. Her best friend Susan comes along for much-needed emotional support. Emily is happy to touch one heart.
Anne Sexton wants to lead the group with her Suicide Note and Wanting to Die poems. Anyone with social anxiety is welcome. Sara Teasdale takes Refuge in her music. Sylvia Plath blames her Daddy, but fears her despair is as deep as The Moon and the Yew Tree. She speaks in metaphors.
The meeting begins with introductions and a steaming cup of coffee.
People are milling around the room trying to feel out the seating. Georgia Douglas Johnson prepares her Poetry notes. She brought her chapbook, Heart of a Woman.
Edgar Allan Poe reflects on his dreams. Virginia Woolf insists on A Room with a View. Marilyn Monroe is glowing with her presence. She writes in Fragments. The side effects of the medications take a toll on many in the crowd, but still they come to read and listen to anyone with lived experience.
Louise Bogan reads An Evening in the Sanitarium. The night drags on for some, yet the warm company fills their hearts and generates
bonds of friendships. T. S. Eliot remains silent. Sadly, Vivienne remains locked away. Others have come for mutual support and prayer. If only John Clare were here, free from the walls of the institution.
How fragile our lives have become. We are Alone, but not Alone. So Many Souls are touched by the words of The Immortal
Poets in our time of need. We will survive the Dark Night of the Soul.
DENISE FLETCHER is a freelance writer and artist. Her creative work has appeared in Drabble Quarterly, Kaleidoscope magazine, Open Minds Quarterly and other various publications. She is the author of the chapbook, A Thread of Hope. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She currently resides in the Tampa area.