Kate Daniels is the Edwin Mims Professor of English and director of creative writing at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of six collections of poetry, including In the Months of My Son’s Recovery (May 2019). A graduate of the New Directions program at the Baltimore Washington Center for Psychoanalysis, she has been a member of the writing faculty there for a decade. She lives in Nashville.
Psychoanalysis—the word hung in my mind like a revelation. People could tune in to one another, literally the other (“al otro”), like a frequency. And when we’re on the same frequency, understanding can happen. And just like that, on a patio resting under the shadow of a great mango tree, psychoanalysis was born in Puerto Rico. At least, as far as my eight-year-old mind was concerned.
He was sprawled and cornered against his nightstand and tethered to the mattress by a tangle of bedclothes. Sleep anchored him, making it hard to stop his arms from thrashing. Blood and fire gagged his throat, blocking the scream. Panicked children. Mothers, naked, keening.