Coltrane Ain’t This Blue


My friend, Rae

hears voices.

She’s cool  with that,

like John Coltrane

on a tenor sax.


What a little

moonlight thorazine

can do for you.


But, oh my God


just squeals her horn

off key.


“Is it catching,”

she asks?


Rising from the sofa

besides me,

checking the cushions for



“I haven’t been getting out

this past month,” she moans.

Her forehead a hard brown shell

—eyes poking out like a two-headed turtle.


Staring at me.

Dusting her shoulders of imaginary

agoraphobia dust.


Terror now.


“I caught it.

I think

I caught it from you.”



Colonel Sanders Tries to Help an Agoraphobic Mail a Letter


I know

you wish to help,

Colonel Sanders.


But, I tell you

the far side

of the street


is like another country:

Cuba or Spain.


I can’t just

cross over.

I would go to the white lines

and faint.

The space is too much for me


though the mailbox

is right there

twenty feet away.


Oh stop

looking at me

like I should be

the punch line

to “why did the chicken cross the road?”


O.A. Fraser is a writer living in Hyde Park; some of his current work explores mental illnesses as hidden disabilities, the constellation of anxiety disorders in general, as well as the experience, stigma, and quandary of agoraphobia in particular.

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