In Memory of Julie Though She’s Still Alive

By Ruth Deming

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For seven long years
she was my client
I counseled her for naught
As she said, You’re just a
paid friend.

She loved nothing better
than taking medication
she thought it would fix her
a woman who could never
be fixed.

In utero, she was doused
with a diet of caviar and
booze, by a brilliant mother,
also named Julie, who won the
advertising account for
Look Magazine.

“Mother” couldn’t stop your
love of learning. You read
every Young Adult book
ever written and loaned
them to me. In your
cramped HUD apartment
with mildewed walls
we watched reruns
together – Hogan’s Heroes,
MacGyver, Mission Impossible –
while you handled the
“remote” with a balletic
precision that proved
you were in command.

I sat with you through
your towering rages –
Why can’t I be like other people?
Why did God do this to me?
And when I drove you to the
diner, you raged when I
went a different way.
You had the stubbornness
of a genetically distorted

Now they lock you up in a
home. The Lamb
Foundation. You, Julie,
fierce as a tigress,
run away.

God decides to show you mercy,
though he killed your brother
A.C., who fell off a cliff hiking.
An old lady whose name I
do not know, has taken you
into her home.
I see you smiling and
blinking your large
doll-like eyes.

When I call and introduce
myself, I hear your thick
manly voice, and say my
name. Sorry, you say,
you must have the
wrong number.

– Ruth Deming

Author’s NoteI’ve written about five poems about Julie, a very difficult but brilliant individual. As a psychotherapist, I often write poems about my clients. In fact, I won a Leeway Grant for Creative Nonfiction by writing prose about my clients. They get under your skin and you root for them.