Our New Day Center Program
Once every five years or so,
The New York Times investigates institutional abuse and neglect.
It’s always the same:
staff called the inmates “retard” and “idiot”
residents soak in their own piss and shit
as if we had entered an undersea grotto,
one in which Thetis provided a secret cave
where we stepped into a swirling flow
from a tidal force
beneath the surface of language.
Pushed by this salty source
as the tide flowed in,
carrying all in its powerful wake,
hidden yet in plain sight as
we started our church-basement program
for Diana and a couple of kids like her.
A social worker from the State Institution
referred parents to us—
even at the austere Children’s Rehabilitation Center
a different social worker referred parents to us as well
to help us to develop a school for Diana
as well as other medically fragile,
profoundly handicapped kids
who needed an educational program.