To My About-To-Be-Ex-Therapist- Poetry by Caolyn Martin


About our session this afternoon, I’m confused:
you diagnosed my ergophobia with sadness 
in your voice. No offense, but after 40 years 
of Type-A overdrive, I’ve earned this new paradigm. 
Put this in your notes: I’ve replaced chronic threats
of nothing-to-do with perfected laziness.
My fear of boredom? Relieved by mindfulness.
From my ergonomic chair, I spend hours 
tracing the texture of walls and studying 
slight tilts of Chinese serigraphs.
I’m happy to report the woman side-saddling
the panther’s back hasn’t slipped off yet
and the lotus pond hasn’t flooded our family room.
As for the cobwebs swaying behind the étagère?
They haven’t ceased to captivate. Anyway,
thanks for helping me define work as what
I say it is. My business suits and black pumps
are up for grabs at Goodwill; my office files
free of contracts, flight plans, and syllabi.
I’m noodling with a blog about the joys 
of nothing much. Maybe you’ll subscribe.


If I told you I have four collections of my own,
you would politely nod and act impressed – 
you with your fifteen, reams of awards, 
and videos on well-lit platforms
where you never need to adjust the mic
because its height is designed for you –
as is the lectern and semi-comfortable chair 
where you sit with a practiced host 
who asks questions I’ve memorized the answers to.

That’s because I’ve tracked your You-Tube clips
repeatedly for insights, inspirations or, 
if Truth nudges me hard enough, excuses
to avoid Googling great cities of the world
for images to upscale a mediocre poem
that refuses to say where it wants to go.  

You, on the other hand, never fail to disappoint –
like the feral cat who strolls across 
the patio and swats the sliding door
or the flicker who delights in my suet cake. 

I count on certain things: that noncommittal pet,
an orange feather lying in the grass, and your glasses
that may – or not – stay on your nose
while you read from The Rain in Portugal
or from Sailing Alone Around a Room – 
a nautical activity, I’m not ashamed 
to admit, I practice when no one’s home.

Carolyn Martin

Find Carolyn Martin’s, Penchant for Masquerades on Amazon

About the contributor

Carolyn Martin has journeyed from New Jersey to Oregon to discover Douglas firs, months of rain, and dry summers. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK including “Stirring,” “Naugatuck River Review,” “CALYX,” “The Curlew,” and “Antiphon.” Her fourth collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, was released in February, 2019 by Unsolicited Press. She is currently the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation.

Related Articles

Kathrine Yets, Poetry

Librarian and Poet, Kathrine Yets.

Speckless and other poems- Linda McKenna

Linda McKenna is originally from County Dublin but has lived in County Down for more than twenty years. She has had poems published in A New Ulster, Skylight 47, Panning for Poems and Lagan Online.

Dust off your quill

When I sit down to write something, fiction or journalism, I begin by dumping every vaguely related thought on to my laptop, before gradually...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More Like This

Market Place by Diane Payne

Diane’s most recent publications include: Barn House, Notre Dame Review,

11 Short story contests you’re not too late to enter

We all hate it when we miss the deadline for a contest, but if it's happened to you recently, take heart. Here are 11 Short Story Contests you can still enter. Closing dates from July 31st to December 31st.

Poetry by Colin Bancroft

Colin Bancroft won the 2016 Poets and Players Prize. His pamphlet Impermanence is out in October 2020 with Maytree Press.

Five New Poems by Matt Duggan

The Citadel Metal spikes made from blue glass and silver are unhooked – pierced inside shop entrances when closed like dystopian fly- traps laid out to deter...

Sociopath by Terese Coe

Terese Coe's collection Shot Silk was short-listed for the 2017 Poets Prize