The Skeletons’ Closet

You didn’t realize, when I opened the door and invited you in,

Told you to make yourself at home, offered to hang your coat,

That a closet would be opened

Where skeletons live

And monsters wait for a chance to come dancing.

Or maybe you did. Denial makes things possible

That an attentive mind would not allow.


And so we sit here, chatting,

And I notice the generations of ancestors lining up behind you,

Hoping they too will have a place at the table.

Laying out their desire to have their grief acknowledge

The way one lays out a winning hand of cards.


Ancestors, complexes, archetypal identifications

How can so many figures pack themselves into one invisible piece of luggage?

How can so many demons jostle about in one mind

All and each of them hoping to be invited in,

To sit here with us and share a cup of tea.


I offer, and you say “no.”

But the work goes on anyway. Because monsters never care

What the ego wants. There are tyrants in their midst

Because even though they came to keep you safe

Way back when,

Now they think they own you.

That’s why you come here today.

Because you think I know something about these closets

And this baggage and these tyrants.

Because you think I know something about how to make tea.


And I am always sorry my dear, but every time I ask you how you are,

I’ve given you back the responsibility

For getting to know each and every one of these others

The work will always be yours

You come to me not because I’m particularly helpful

Only because I understand the language of monsters

And its useful to have a translator every now and then.

Because I know

That when you open that door

And look in the closet

The skeletons you see

Are always you own.


Here, give me your coat,

I’ll make us some tea.


b. turner


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