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Institutionalized

An Instance of Insanity

By D.K. ShepardPublished 2 months ago Updated 27 days ago 2 min read
16
Institutionalized
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

On Monday afternoon, fifth period

Diana asks, “Can I have a band-aid?’

In the desk drawer among the myriad

Of pens, post-its, and paper clips arrayed,

I pluck one from the box and deposit it

In Diana’s open palm. Thin and light,

Perfect remedy for a paper cut

Or a scab picked off an itchy bug bite

***

But what about a severed artery?

How much could a band-aid absorb before

It oversaturates with red fury

A millisecond perhaps, but no more.

It would be madness and a waste of time

Who would make such a foolish decision?

To think it suitable would be a crime

Inevitable exsanguination

***

In the instance of a deadly snake bite

A band-aid can’t stop the taint of poison

It will just keep the fang marks out of sight

And hiding holes won’t stop any treason

By a body invaded by venom

Only someone who’s lost all their marbles

Would believe they’ve truly solved the problem

When they’ve done nothing to help their troubles

***

And upon an occurrence of cancer

What good can just a simple band-aid do?

There’s really nothing for it to offer

It neither stops the spread nor halts the slew

Of dividing cells in growing tumors

Which require a treatment more aggressive

Only someone in a senseless stupor

Would consider such a plan impressive

***

In the incident of a heart attack

Band-aids are not a viable option

For there exists a most substantial lack

Of any aid in blood circulation

And with a case of cardiac arrest

Can you guess what comes next? The same warning

Not the time to put band-aids to the test

There’s no way they can get a heart pumping

***

Band-aids have a proper use and purpose

Being misapplied leads to disaster

So it goes with other things, even us

What is the role and function of teachers?

What does our society ask of them?

Bulb flashes with light of recognition

Me, a band-aid for symptoms of a system

With quite an underlying condition

Author’s Note: Honored to have this piece selected by RM Stockton as a Top 10 placement in his March Madness Challenge. Check out more winners linked in the story below.

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About the Creator

D.K. Shepard

Character Crafter, Witty Banter Enthusiast, World Builder, Unpublished novelist...for now

Fantasy is where I thrive, but I like to experiment with genres for my short stories. Currently employed as a teacher in Louisville.

dkshepard.com

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Comments (13)

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  • JBaz22 days ago

    I guess that is why it referred to as a temporary fix. I like the way you went through so many ailments a band aid will not help.

  • Mika Oka28 days ago

    Band aids are temporary respites

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    Excellent work, D.K! I could feel the madness welling up. The kind when you feel like someone asked one too many questions -The breaking point! There is no band-aid coming to the rescue.

  • What a grand perspective here! We want that instant band aid to fix the immediacy of our problems, but we do not want to take the time or exert the effort to treat the real cause of our problems. Freaking brilliant!

  • Esala Gunathilake2 months ago

    A brilliant perspective. Nice exploration!

  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    This, unlike a band aid, can be applied to so many things 🤔

  • Grz Colm2 months ago

    This is a superb analogy! A highly engaging piece D.K. 👏😊

  • Christy Munson2 months ago

    Brilliant. I especially vibe with the final lines: "What is the role and function of teachers? What does our society ask of them? Bulb flashes with light of recognition Me, a band-aid for symptoms of a system With quite an underlying condition"

  • Lacy Loar-Gruenler2 months ago

    Oh, D.K., the lot of the teacher is underpaid and undervalued and blamed. I loved this and how you segued from a band aid for a minor cut to what teachers endure. My mom was a teacher, and I know she would have loved your poem along with me.

  • This was soooo profound and thought provoking. Loved your poem!

  • John Cox2 months ago

    I taught professional writing and the intro to rhetoric and English at the US Naval Academy as a military instructor for three years. I accepted the position with the intent of teaching high school English when I retired from the Army. But guess what? Even in an environment where my students had to address me as Sir or Major, I realized that the job was far more challenging than any prior or later assignment while I wore Army Greens. Needless to say, I chose a different profession when I retired. People routinely thank me for my service, but who thanks the teachers? Rachel is spot on. I echo her sentiments with my own. Thank you, DK, for serving and teaching our youth. This is a wonderful, painful ode to a thankless job.

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    Yes! The expectations on teachers are inordinate! And because it's a vocation and because yiu feel such a responsibility to your kids, you don't want to let them down. But you are one person! I don't understand why people wonder about the problems in society and not feel yhe need to invest in it. Everything needs attention to thrive. Thank you for doing a wonderful job. I left teaching in 2012. Part of me misses it, art of me doesn't. I respect you enormously. Hope Diana's okay.

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