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A poem

My aunt was the kind of shrink who dropped acid with Timothy
Leary to be at the mind’s frontier. My aunt did not like people-
pleasers. At holidays she brought us sugar-dusted nougats in
narrow boxes and provoked arguments between my parents.  She
liked to sit, smoke and watch. Sometimes I felt desperate to make
my parents stop.    I would say anything for silence. One
Thanksgiving my aunt leaned forward through the clouds to ask
me: Is that what you really think? Her eyes were gray-blue like
mine. Sometimes I looked at her and thought I was looking at
myself.       She liked my little sister better.   My aunt was a
communist who moved to Rome. The summer I was fourteen we
visited her flat above a broken, vast plaza filled with families who
stopped talking to watch us.  Over drinks her painter-friend said I
was his Botticelli-muse, when could I pose. My father made us
leave. We ate gelato in the plaza and stepped on shards of glass
by our car. Someone stole my father’s Dictaphone. Maybe my
aunt liked rebels. When she died she left all her money and
jewelry to my sister who said I have no need for decorative shit
and gave me the woven box. Inside is a jungle of sweater pins,
cameos, fake diamonds and pearls, imitation turquoise-studded
chokers and cuffs.     Sometimes for therapy I choose a pin or
necklace. Sometimes a client pauses to say Well that is an
interesting spider you are wearing and then  my aunt is right there
in the room. Once at the very bottom of the box I found a
pendant with the double-venus sign. I want to ask my aunt about
it. I want to ask her what she learned from LSD. I want to ask her
why distance alters perspective, and how she knew I lied.

“Distance” originally appeared in Nimrod International Journal’s Fall/Winter 2015 issue, Awards 37. Nimrod is The University of Tulsa’s literary magazine. For more information and to purchase issues, visit www.utulsa.edu/nimrod.

Lisa C. Krueger is a clinical psychologist. She has published articles and interactive journals related to psychology and creativity, and her poems have appeared in various journals. Her fourth collection of poems with Red Hen Press, “Run Away to the Yard,” will be released in Spring 2017.