Spring Grove State Mental Institute, Baltimore, 1965


On Sixty Minutes with Charles Kuralt


In Cottage 13, the experiment begins,

fourteen hours under their eyes.


Peg M., middle-aged mother of two,

Peg M., wife to the husband

            who had her committed.

Peg M., who feels fake,

            has felt fake since the births

            of the boy,

            of the girl.


What Peg M. says in the beginning:

my father called me his little faker,

            his little fakir,

            fake is what I feel.


In Cottage 13, the doctor tells her,

“Look at the rose—”

            “—if I want to,” Peg M. says.


If I want to.


What Peg M. says next:

Shut up and listen to the music.


What Peg says next:

I don’t know what, but boy am I afraid.


What Peg M. says next:

I could tell you about women.

They think there goes beauty,

there goes love and they’re scared to death.


When you cry you don’t just cry for yourself,

you’re crying for your daughter,

her daughter, and the ones that come.


What Peg M. says later:

What’s transfiguration mean?

            I feel reborn.

            I feel beautiful

            I feel squashed but beautiful

And I found God                                                                                    

                                                What did you say, girl? (the husband asks)


I said I found God.


I found a great big hunk of creation.


                                                What did you say, girl?

                                                What did you say, girl?


A week after this, she was released.

intones the narrator, released,

says Charles Kuralt, from Spring Grove.


                        Charles Kuralt, Charles Kuralt

                        What is this business you’re in?

                        What do you think of Peg M.?

                        What do you think of the mister?

                        Tell me—

If I want to.

                                                What did you say, girl?


Later, later,

Peg M. dyes her hair & meets her grandchild

& her daughter looks just like her.


Peg M. is happy.

No, really, she’s fine. Fine.


The doctor says,

            This drug is serious business.

            This drug is serious business.

            This drug is serious business.


            Look at the rose,


if I want to, Peg M. says.


Shut up and listen to the music, Peg M. says.


I don’t know what, but boy, am I afraid.

I feel reborn.

            I feel beautiful

            I feel squashed but beautiful

And I found God, Peg M. says.


I found a great big hunk of creation.

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