“The Clinic” by Martin Vest

Martin Vest


They come smelling
        like the inside of an ear
like government curtains
        like a flagpole in the dead
of winter
        with one leg
with cancer
        with court orders
with lies
        they come like the dead
the undead
        like shells washed up
bottles without messages
        They come hooked
naked as starfish
        food and shelter
money and clothing
        they come
and come
        like blood from a wrist
into my office
        notarized and wasted
pouring their tears
        Into my mouth
goes the vinegar of the damned
        goes the pale horse leaping
liberty’s blue tongue
        sorrow upon
        in the child’s dead eye
the red tape worm
and slips into
        the stars.

from Rattle #26, Winter 2006

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