Tohm Bakelas: “the nonhuman from polaris”

the nonhuman from polaris

he was deemed no longer a danger 
to himself, others and property,
and therefore he was eligible for discharge

i referred him for group home placement 
and prepped him on all the things
he should and shouldn’t say

he placed his hand over mine
and said “tohm i love ya”

during his intake meeting he said 
“i don’t need no group home, i’m 
going to israel to be crucified… you 
see, i’m not human, i’m from polaris”

they looked at me, 
then he looked at me,
i put my hand on his shoulder
and said “i understand”

“what do you do for fun?” they asked

“hang myself” he said and laughed

“umm, what?” they asked

“that’s a joke,” he said, “i think...”

after the meeting we took our time
walking back to the ward

“tohm i think that went well” he told me

“yeah, we’ll see what they say” i said

i let him inside the ward 
and waited until the door locked

after that i went for a short walk 
and stared outside a window for a while

About the Author: Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He has published 18 chapbooks and 2 collections of poetry. His forthcoming collection “The Ants Crawl In Circles” will be published by Whiskey City Press in Summer 2022. He runs Between Shadows Press. 

Image Credit: Edvard Munch “Melancholy III” (1915–1917). Public domain image courtesy of Artvee

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