pages Spinning at the Asylum, Worcester, Mass., 1949

by Kirby Wright

Published in Issue No. 178 ~ March, 2012

Today is my girlfriend Irene’s third operation. “This time women’s troubles,” Nurse Croner whispers. I pick Irene a bouquet of pink and yellow roses from the bushes outside Hooper Hall. Thorns cut my fingers. Burt the Attendant scolds me for stealing, says next time he’ll drown me in Bladder Pond. I’m not allowed to visit Irene so the bouquet winds up in the Day Room for everyone to enjoy.

Doc decides I need more blood to the brain. I tell him it’s not good to move blood around and that too much blood could crack my glass head. “Nonsense,” he says. I enter the Therapy Room. Burt lifts me into a chair hanging from the ceiling and straps me in. Doc pulls on a blindfold—soft cotton feels good over my eyes. Burt sneezes. The chair starts to turn so I grab the steel posts rising out of the armrests. Soon I’m spinning like a top. Why, it feels just like I’m back at the Boston Fair riding the Moonrocket with Pops. “Hang on tight, son,” Pops warns, “hang on for your life!”

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Kirby Wright was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a graduate of Punahou School in Honolulu and the University of California at San Diego. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Wright has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and is a past recipient of the Jodi Stutz Memorial Prize in Poetry, the Ann Fields Poetry Prize, the Academy of American Poets Award, the Robert Browning Award for Dramatic Monologue, and Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowships in Poetry and The Novel. BEFORE THE CITY, his first poetry collection, took First Place at the 2003 San Diego Book Awards. Wright is also the author of the companion novels PUNAHOU BLUES and MOLOKA’I NUI AHINA, both set in Hawaii. He was a Visiting Fellow at the 2009 International Writers Conference in Hong Kong, where he represented the Pacific Rim region of Hawaii. He was also a Visiting Writer at the 2010 Martha’s Vineyard Residency in Edgartown, Mass., and the 2011 Artist in Residence at Milkwood International, Czech Republic. His futuristic novel THE END, MY FRIEND was published in 2013. He published SQUARE DANCING AT THE ASYLUM, a collection of flash fiction, in 2014.