Crazy Mary drops the red and blue stars
she found in a bin
every time she ventures further
than four blocks from her crawlspace under the warehouse.
If a hard rain or high winds rush away the stars,
the world is a terrifying blur.
She can’t find her back until a star
falls from a tree or comes dislodged
from a forgiving bench.
Sometimes she has to sleep in the open,
no box or newspapers for warmth
or protection from groping hands in the night.
She’s forty now, but looks sixty—
a gaping hole where front teeth used to be.
Her hair has gone silver, her skin become parchment.
Once she’d been the Homecoming Queen
and married her sweetheart out of high school—
he beat her when the voices came.
Thorazine was supposed to cure her, stop
the voices, but drugged her instead.
They wanted to up the dose,
put her into a nursing home,
turn her into puddle of drool.
She took to the streets.
She doesn’t mind.
She has work to do.
She has to meet with the aliens,
talk them out of their planned attack.
She saves the world daily,
but nobody knows.
Poetry by Pris Campbell has appeared in such journals as PoetsArtists, Empowerment4Women, The Outlaw Poetry Express, Rusty Truck, The Dead Mule and many others. She has published seven collections of poetry, six in the small press and one, a collaboration, with Clemson University Press. Her 2009 book, Sea Trails, is based on her 1977 six month trip from Boston to Florida in a 22 foot sailboat.. A former Clinical Psychologist, she was sidelined by ME/CFS and has led a far quieter life since 1990. She now lives in the Greater West Palm Beach, Florida.