In this poem Susan Cook explores a sort of sketch of self, a mind trying to come into awareness.  Suddenly the metaphor of a plant in a jar transforms the experience into a kind of vision or awareness of how the world (or our own consciousness) offers care to us, growth and nurture and pruning.

Susan Cook is a psychotherapist, practicing in a small Maine coast town, and a poet and essayist. She has been a semi-finalist for the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Series Poetry Prize. She writes and produces a series called The River Is Wide on, available for review to public radio producers. The series includes essays: “Citizen’s Guides,” “Civil Liberties for Lifelong Learners,” and “A Department of Poetic Justice,” which includes lyrics suitable for singing to tunes from The Great American Wrongbook.

Betsy Sholl, MAJ Poetry editor


Treatment of Myself

The disapproving eye

has done it again.

What has it done,

made me mull over

what’s come to pass

like a hesitant departure.

For a long time

I did not know

what mind meant.

I thought it was

a kind of terror.

I spent a long time

by myself

trying to find

its mood, its whim.

It had none.

I found out.

None but life

and memory

to tar back roads

to piece together reasons.

Oh, it felt so good to grow.

I lie on an un-made bed.

I am reminded where I lie,

a plant in a jar

in the window light.

An old woman comes

from nowhere

to watch and water me

picking off leaves, solemnly

turned brown.


Image at top: Susan Cook, photograph.