I met a girl in October---my roommate, she

Sang herself to sleep with prayers, after asking

If I minded, but I just shook my head and stared

At the wall, and in the shadows (the nurses

Kept a light on in the room adjacent) read the

Angst my forbears carved into the headboard---

Quite a feat as even sharpened pencils were

on a Lockdown. But my roommate, she was an

Angel; the nicest of our bunch which coalesced

On the hour to discuss, calm and composed, the

Rationale of our lunacy; Of us all, if not

The most sincere, my roommate, she

Was definitely the sweetest, most considerate

She loved her mother very much

But apparently a traumatic childhood nurtures

A lot of rage, and her temper was explosive---

Sometimes violent, and sometimes, her uncle

Retaliated, and once after a visit, she holed up

In our bathroom and began such distraught keening

As to throw the entire department into a frenzy, and

Of which I was absurdly--and appropriately--jealous

After all, she was there because she had too much

Emotion, and I was there, because (I had none.)

Later, when the quiet settled, she confided

An inability to convey gratitude and asked for

My advice, but I just shook my head and stared

At the wall, and in the shadows

Listened to her sing herself to sleep. My roommate, she

Made me ashamed, with her strength.