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The Experiment, a poem by Steve Fay

The Experiment

The stethoscope is cold making goose flesh on your abdomen: it was a

     time of shivering. 

Why is it that climbing on the examination bench, too many people

     looking on, answers no questions, only makes you want to clamp

     hold your eyes.

They seem to have found something they wanted, the answer to why they

     wanted you, but now they carry it away on a tray.

A syringe, again a syringe, one day withdrawing something, the next day

     injecting something.  Some thing changes in you.  Something you

     were goes away.

They said, Put on the gown, Dear.  Put it, do it, what the doctor said,

     Dear.  There's a dear.... But the gown does not enclose you, it does

     not hide what you want hidden.  That has been taken from you.

Now all the samples of you spin in a centrifuge of years. Like children left 

    on a merry-go-round too long, too long, will they ever know which 

    way is up?

Something about the experiment left you feeling weak in your heart, your

     mind. Now, even your bones flock to their fracturing.

Decades later, though it is not a cure, you get to tell your story.  

You have scratched in tiny letters on the spline that held the eraser to your

     pencil a single word:  Heal.  You have torn the rubber away.  Your

     language will not be stopped

                        for Beret E. Strong


Steve Fay's collection what nature: Poems was published by Northwestern University Press. His poetry has appeared in Ascent, Beloit Poetry Journal, Field, Hamilton Stone Review, Moving Force Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, and other journals and anthologies. He lives in Fulton County, Illinois.