On the Set

By JoAnne Preiser

They’re making a movie
at the old state mental institution;
they’re making it look
like it’s 1954
like it’s an island
off the coast of Boston.

They’re making hurricanes blow
with an aircraft engine
and rain pour at an angle
that tears at a wall of windows
canted just enough
to prevent the camera’s reflection.

They’re making the talent
scale a cliff
made of medium
density fiberboard,
MDF in the trade,
rock that rises
all of six feet
from the ground.

In the woods
behind the cottage
that once housed
sex offenders,
they built a cemetery
and a mausoleum
with stones
that look like New England
granite but weigh less
than your shoe.
Even the felled trees
are fake — pipes
covered with more MDF,
thin sheets of rubber
molded like bark.

They’re flying in rats
from LA
to follow a whistle
and two alpha males.
They’ll peek out
of their MDF cave
for a close-up
then jump
to a long shot
on prefabricated ground
cut
to the water’s edge
which is not
the rocky coast of Maine,
not even the sandy shore
of Carson’s Beach,
but a tank
with two hydraulic pumps
shooting out water
every six seconds
and sucking it back
till they’re ready for more.

A world all its own
where night reigns
as the sun beats down
and daylight lasts
long after the moon
rises over the real
cemetery farther down
Hospital Road
where 839 inmates
lie buried, their nameless
plots marked
by small stones
etched with numbers
to credit their lives.
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About JoAnne Preiser

JoAnne Preiser lives, writes and teaches in Massachusetts. As a member of Fine Line Poets, she has conducted workshops in poetry and memoir in the Boston area. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including: Alehouse Press, Memoir (and), Slipstream and The Ledge. In 2006 she won Inkwell’s poetry competition. Her first chapbook, Confirmation, was recently published by Finishing Line Press.

One Comment

  1. barbaray
    Posted June 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful poem! Who knew such a world existed to the extent that it does!

    I shall search out some more poetry by Joanne Preiser.

    Barbara

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