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Passing Out

 The doctor fingers my bruise.
"Magnificent," he says, "black at the edges and purple cored.
" Seated, he spies for clues, gingerly probing the slack flesh, while I, standing, fazed, pull for air, losing the battle.
Faced by his aged diploma, the heavy head of the X- ray, and the iron saddle, I grow lonely.
He finds my secrets common and my sex neither objectionable nor lovely, though he is on the hunt for significance.
The shelved cutlery twinkles behind glass, and I am on the way out, "an instance of the succumbed through extreme fantasy.
" He is alarmed at last, and would raise me, but I am floorward in a dream of lowered trousers, unarmed and weakly fighting to shut the window of my drawers.
There are others in the room, voices of women above white oxfords; and the old floor, the friendly linoleum, departs.
I whisper, "my love," and am safe, tabled, sniffing spirits of ammonia in the land of my fellows.
"Open house!" my openings sing: pores, nose, anus let go their charges, a shameless flow into the outer world; and the ceiling, equipped with intelligence, surveys my produce.
The doctor is thrilled by my display, for he is half the slave of necessity; I, enormous in my need, justify his sciences.
"We have alternatives," he says, "Removal.
" (And my blood whitens as on their dull trays the tubes dance.
I must study the dark bellows of the gas machine, the painless maker.
) ".
and learning to live with it.
" Oh, but I am learning fast to live with any pain, ache, growth to keep myself intact; and in imagination I hug my bruise like an old Pooh Bear, already attuned to its moods.
"Oh, my dark one, tell of the coming of cold and of Kings, ancient and ruined.

by Philip Levine
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