On The Couch

When I wait and see
what words come to me
they always have significance—

just like the 4 days a week I spent
free associating on a couch
at the New York Psychoanalytic
Institute as an analysand for 3 years.

I was madly in love with a married woman
at the time who was afraid her divorce
might provoke her father’s final heart attack.

My analyst was a colorless gent
who reminded me of my older brother
who tried to smother me with a pillow
when we were very young kids.

I preferred to keep my knees up
while lying on the couch due
to a herniated disc in my lower back.
My analyst’s only interpretation suggested
I was afraid of a homosexual attack from the rear.

During the years on the couch
I kept singing to myself: I don’t know why
I love you like I do, I don’t know why, but I do.
Fortunately, since I was a poor postdoctoral student
I only had to pay the minimum fee of 25 cents.

Needless to say, I became a humanistic, existential
psychologist instead of a traditional Freudian analyst.

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About the Author

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 88-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published poems in The Antigonish Review, London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times.