Decorative Image

A Poem


was the year psychobabble and Cognitive Behavior Therapy

both made the pages of Merriam Webster’s Dictionary,

and my dad re-married.


My new word that summer in the backyard

of our new two-story house was hammock—

it had give, it made room for me. 

At nine, I could pull it around me

like a cocoon and go slack.

I was invisible when my dad 

kicked words like sand in her eyes,

You know who the problem is?

You’re the problem! 

I’m sick of your psychobabble—

put a sock in it, will ya? 


They had shut the door 

to the new screened-in porch,

so my brother and I wouldn’t hear.


(but I heard, in my cocoon)


What am I—your drudge, your babysitter? 

I know why you married me, I’m no idiot.

Those kids don’t even know how to make a bed;

she never taught them, and now it’s my job?


I learned cognitive behavior therapy

three decades after the summer 

I became a stepchild.

With this delicate tool, 

I reshape my lens and see true. 

CBT fits my mind like a felt tip pen fits my hand—

it has give, it makes room for me. 

Amy Higgins

June 25, 2020

Previously published in The Huron River Review.

Amy Higgins facilitates a virtual Friends and Family support group for Washtenaw Community College students. Upcoming meeting times are:

  • Thursday, June 24, 4:30-6pm
  • Thursday, July 22, 4:30-6pm
  • Thursday, August 19, 4:30-6pm

You can register by phone by calling (734)994-6611 or online by visiting this link. If you have any questions, email Amy at

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