Yawning is a symptom of adderall,

a strange side effect for a stimulant

but then so is staring at a wall

in thoughts just always out of reach

that lure one playfully into thinking

the way the Cheshire Cat entreats Alice

and then abandons her to curiosity,

disappearing his limbs until there is

only a puzzling, catenary grin.


You’re not focused so much as you’re

inclined to be focused, catecholamine

receptors flooded with a stimulant

masquerading as epinephrine and dopamine.

Euphoria is the absence of distraction,

the state of readiness, and readiness is all.

But being unaccustomed to happiness,

or overdoing it, one forgoes thinking

for feeling itself, and stares at a wall.


His mother tells me after our session

they doubled his dose from fifteen to thirty.

I know before she tells me because he took

the bottle out of his jacket halfway

into his spelling list, pondering the lid

as if he had no idea how it got there.

He stares at the floral decal over my back

and laughs at some invisible non sequitur.


At his age I’d seen two speech therapists

and sat at the same sort of table, wearing

the same bowl cut and sense of injustice

that is both defiant and obedient,

at first aloud, then later quietly.


But two hours is more than I can bear,

wading through worksheet after worksheet.

He doesn’t care what a pronoun is, and I don’t care.

This isn’t the same thing as saying

neither of us enjoys learning.

There’s no greater pleasure in the world

than learning about it. I learned this.

Hopefully he will too, if he can learn

to think through the drugs that have

stranded his mind in Wonderland.


When I tell him what a spyglass is,

and draw my invisible telescope like a pirate,

we’re suddenly performing Peter Pan.

His eyes ungloss with fugitive black flags.

A half hour later, the feeling fades.

Page eleven is the same as page ten.

His yawn inflates my own unsatisfying yawn,

a gasp that never inhales enough oxygen,

another symptom of the adderall,

you can’t find the end of a yawn or a thought.

R. Charboneau

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