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Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 768–768 | Cite as

Michael Angel

  • Hans Steiner
Feature: Poetry and Other Creative Work
  • 277 Downloads

“We got one sitting on the ledge

Come right away – 11 West, V.A.”

“I am running. Meet me at the elevator.”

Is this thing moving?!

“So what’s his story? No, let’s not go there yet,

Let me see him from across, where he can’t see us.”

There he sat, legs dangling, looking down

One hand missing, just a stump.

“Just back. His hand blown off by an RDD.

PTSD, on Prozac. (He will need much more than that).

Got suicidal when he heard his wife was gone

Not just his hand.”

“No, don’t come in, no crowding.”

I sat down in his nagahide chair right by

The window. His stump was on my side

He held on with the other hand. Not sure.

“You’re Michael.” Nothing back.

I saw him looking up into the sky

With squinty eyes. No tears. No sighs.

Just sat. “You are Michael Angel.” “No!!!!”

“I am Michael Adam.” “So you cannot fly”

He hissed. “Now, can I see your stump?”

I held my hand out to him like you see up on

The ceiling in the Sistine chapel.

He stared. “No funny stuff!” “No funny stuff.”

He put it gently in my palm

It rested there, all blue and red and scarred.

I felt the bones beneath.

“You know it won’t grow into a wing. But I know

Lots of women that would help take good care of it.”

He did not move the stump.

“But you have got to get them. They won’t fly with you.”

The stump remained, I rubbed it gently.

“And when you find one then you need to take her

To the Sistine Chapel.” “That’s in Vegas?”

“No, in Italy, in Rome.

Wanna come in? I’ll show you

On the internet. Quite awesome.”

He bumped his buzzed head as he ducked right through the window.

And now he took his turn on nagahide.

We then looked at the chapels paintings.

The staff came in and brought him dinner.

I stayed with him a couple hours

He told me that he was a painter too. I said: “I know.”

But now his hand was gone. I said: “But you’ve got two?”

“A lefty now?” “I think the guy that painted this,

He also was a lefty. And he had your name.

Well not the Adam. But he painted him.”

Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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