Tohm Bakelas

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“it happened”

a plastic food tray 
fashioned into a knife
is not good in the hands
of a patient once adjudicated
not guilty by reason of insanity
for a prior murder charge,

but it happened

we had him cornered 
in the seclusion room,
8 feet by 10 feet

he kept threatening
to stab anyone who 
came near him 

the cops came and said:
drop it or we’re shooting
pepper spray

naturally he refused

they blasted him in both eyes
and closed the door on him

after that i went to lunch. 


Tohm Bakelas is a New Jersey social worker in a state psychiatric hospital. His poems have appeared all over the world and he’s published eleven books of poetry. His work has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. He is also the editor of Between Shadows Press.