Dana Elkun

Dana Elkun has worked in psychology research since 2001, first at the University of Washington on several studies related to adolescent depression and most recently at University of Colorado Boulder as the study coordinator for Dr. David Miklowitz's research on bipolar disorder. As the mother of a 3-year-old son and a long-time meditator, Dana especially enjoyed working with the pregnant women and new moms who participated in the Mindfulness and Pregnancy Research Study.

Dana is also a published poet and creative writing teacher. Her poem, "Intake with Empress Earl Gray," was inspired by her work as a research interviewer.

Intake with Empress Earl Gray

by Dana Elkun

I said male or female and she said no. I said uh woman
or man and she said the northern and southern hemispheres
intersect but only at an imaginary line.
Ok I said

where do you live and she said my empire. I said
is that nearby. E as in empire she said comes between D
as in deserving and F family.
Do you have any family

I followed her lead and she said my empire is crowded
mostly with smoke.
Well I said is that why you go
by Earl Gray. I already sense your desire to situate me

in an era. Ok then what era are you from. Pre-Rain.
So I wrote it down: Pre-Rain. And how has life been going
for you and how has your life changed and she said my shadow

is just as good at keeping pace. We were getting somewhere.
I said what do you see as your biggest struggle these days
and she said acting important. And your greatest strength.

Being a mammal. Being a mammal ok I said do you ever follow
advice from people you trust and she said the only arrows I follow
are branches and elephant trunks.
I left it blank at first. Then I wrote

N/A. Do you feel anxious when you meet new people I asked
like me I asked and she said no I give away blankets when I’m cold.
I said what do you see for yourself in the future and she said

pranksters will go home with the trophy and truth will go home
with the mute.
I said can you repeat that more slowly please
and she said the only part to keep is truth will go.

Reprinted with permission from Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo, 2009 Concrete Wolf, http://concretewolf.com/contests/2008.htm

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