Visit to Massillon State Hospital

It was the only time I ever heard my father speak his native tongue,
to his sister, who now spoke only German,
and spoke it as a child speaks
with fresh starlight in each word,
and eyes that wandered to every soft edge of her room.

I did not want to be there. I would never be there again.
On the way out, a man with scars on his face slammed
his head against the barred window of his door, bringing
new scars boiling to the surface.

Father held us close at the sound, and
the worry on his face, the thought of his sister,
told of what lurks in our blood,

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