by Gene Fendt
The patient is twenty three years old
and withdrawn. She hears voices telling her
she will be burned alive.
She buys gasoline. She plays with matches.
She waits.
                                                                     The fifty year old man has a crystal.
                                                                     When he looks through it, he can see
                                                                     if you are good or bad.
                                                                     His eyes are empty, and ice blue.
                                                                     Do you want him to look?

She says I must agree she is a goddess
or she will leave.
She is standing naked on the back porch.
The fog creeps out of the forest.
I agree she is a goddess.

                                                                     The man is insulated from the world
                                                                     by darkness. He says
                                                                     the darkness is a witch's spell. He says
                                                                     he doesn't know the witch. He says
                                                                     the right words, uttered backwards, break the spell.

The UFO took me to a distant star;
they called their planet Urania.
I don't know where it was.
They communicated by telepathy with me,
but spoke to one another.

It's in the cigarettes, he said.
                                                                     It's not the nicotine, there's additives;
                                                                     they make you sometimes see
                                                                     messages in the smoke.
he said, they have you.

She chooses every word with care,
intent upon her sentence.
She speaks one sentence at a time; no more.
If they connect--so. If not, so.
They all connect, she says.

                                                                     The house is dark. The man
                                                                     owns a coffee cup, a bowl and spoon,
                                                                     a Bowie knife.
                                                                     He has not been to town in three months.
                                                                     His garden is in perfect rows.

She seems normal. She takes her medicine.
Before the medicine the archangel came;
folding her in his huge wings,
the bright heavenly sword impaled her every night.
I want him back, she says.
She throws away the pills.

Gene Fendt has been teaching philosophy in the small department at the University of Nebraska, Kearney, for
almost 30 years, and has published work on most of the "greats," whom he teaches regularly: Plato, Aristotle,
Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Shakespeare, Hume, Kant and Kierkegaard. His poetic work is less regular, but he
previously won awards from the Nebraska Arts Council for poetry (2006, 2009), for playwriting (1999) and in the
Chester H. Jones National poetry competition (1997). He won the 2015 Gemini Magazine Poetry Open for