The smell of fresh soap

in a crowd set him off.

A man walked passed who smelled like cheap soap

and Johnny lost it, screaming and punching people

until the cops came and arrested him.

I went to see him in the religious place they put him

St. Joseph's Compassion,

a place for the broken minded.

When I found him, he was lying on a bed chair

on the back lawn in the sun.

I pulled another chair across and sat next to him.

“Hi Johnny, how are you?”  I asked.

He looked at me and smiled. He knew me.

“You won't believe what goes on here,” he said, a big smile on his lips.

“What?”

“The nurses come out on the lawn here, naked, completely naked.

You should see the sun shine off their skin,

they lie down, and then the doctors come out

and fuck them right in front of us.

We have to watch.

It all happens after the visitors leave.”

I listened to him, and I couldn’t remember if you should play along with a madman

or let them know you think they are lying. So I said nothing,

but I nodded and looked out across the thick green grass.

“We watch the doctors do this every night.”

“What do the female doctors do?” I asked.

His face became serious and strained

and he rolled onto his side, facing away from me.

It was a beautiful day, so I looked out over the grounds

The grass looked so thick and soft here.

Published by David O'Sullivan