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Archive for August 19th, 2011

By Dennis Mahagin

An anesthesiologist
may be an instrument
of karma, hovering over

trays (your gurney)
… he’s got up in paisley
scrubs, a headband he
rubs the wrong way
upon the back
of his hand, nodding
a skosh in the
affirmative, trance
like tentative but
affirmative.

There’s the convex
ceiling chrome pulling cold sweat, halogen
sans mist, and the silver tube with needle,
anesthetist, he sticks it
in your wrist.

The bleep of the pulse monitor
is a canary invoking a joke
your eyes have seen already
what the spleen spoke: yes,
that anesthetist is a dead
ringer for the fake book singer
who got it off with your wife
twenty two years
past. You took it
like a man, then
did some things with
your life it’s hard
to understand.

If we could only look behind
the masks, see? — there’d be no need
for enmity, for projection … “In a minute
I’m gonna start the drip,” this anesthetist
announces, his secret
talent for making hours flash
coma dark, unconsciousness
at light speed.

You might wake
to a new fate, and not
be able to regret it
later, as if smacking
the pavement
from a long
fall; you may ask for a sip
of water, brain salad and what
else might one say, after all?

— “Do you know
what the night is
like outside? Raindrops
on a bus window, jam roll
pericardium, something
something pink stuff
young man something
something?” …

No worries, the staid nurses
are on your side. And that surgeon
looks a bit like Colin Ferrell, nobody
he ever worked on ever
died. It’s only that

kid packing ether. Instrument
to avoid. Bow peep, chin up
button it’s a nip

and nothing much
else. Titus smile like Polaroid
dissolving six thousand miles
of past.

Sell it, if only from your eyes to
his mask. Wink once sure that’s
risky too but whatever you
do work fast.

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