by Carol Smallwood
Dr. Spratt’s eggshell color vest seemed to call attention to his baldness when he nodded his welcome to Susan. She sat in her usual seat out of vision of the plants to avoid rescue compulsions if she saw any wilting.
He looked at his notes and began the session with, “How’s your art class coming?”
“We’re doing collages to convey emotion. Uncle Jim said I never showed any.” Ignoring the taste of blood from biting her mouth. Before he left, my husband said I couldn’t relate to others–both said I had the perfect life.”
“We went over how your uncle and your husband were not what others saw them. You’ve moved away—you’re safe now. You’re free. Do you remember Jake in The Sun Also Rises after the war but we aren’t actually told what happened to him? The term shell shock started then.”
Dr. Spratt had majored in English before switching to counseling–but what did that Hemingway soldier to do with her?
Carol Smallwood co-edited Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching (McFarland, 2012) on the list of “Best Books for Writers” by Poets & Writers Magazine; Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing (Key Publishing House, 2012); Compartments: Poems on Nature, Femininity, and Other Realms (Anaphora Literary Press, 2011) received a Pushcart nomination.