Henry D. Brown is a writer from Austin, Texas (USA). He co-edits dreams walking, a
literary webzine. Currently, he is a senior Religion major/Spanish minor at Carleton
College, where he co-chairs the Democratic Socialists of America. His poetry has
recently appeared in publications including giallo, Sybil, Cypress, After the Pause,
Perhappened, & Isacoustic.

first form requests list of present medications

after surname, first name, payment method

voice from front desk: "better to fill these all out now"
i glance down, recoil at each greying word

letters fade on right side, copied over too much,
slanted slightly / finding faults i'm seeking /

slanted like my garbled writing / i'm seeking fault /
scribbled slapdash, spilling through dotted lines

rendered in flares of white against highnoon bulbs
"doing okay with those? they'll see you now."

nurse in hall takes clipboard, leads me into a room
"sit here" / blood pressure cuff in hand, he starts

top of first form / eyes nearly clear like saline bag
ziptied, perched up on wheels behind door-frame

he crosses arms, shoots saline glance to nobody
glassy, knowing / "how long on lithium?"

i find my ears underwater / salt in my mouth,
"how long, sorry?" / 'got the wrong hospital,'

i believe he thinks, but i'm here & here in salt
so i second-guess what i think he thinks

salt makes my skin dry / stretched like paper on this bed
worn like low toner xeroxed boldface

cracks like voice when he tells me, "open your mouth.
i do. i know now i shouldn't be here /

wasting his time, my money / glare through IV bag
"this is pretty inflamed, but you'll be fine"

"you have a throat infection & panic attacks"
zithromax script / draw breath through saltwater

we should have gone to mexico

half-smile glimpse to left cut
through shades of early morning

there, where blank billboards make
last fading skyline-lights dance

relief of moment's lapse
southward bound, lost but quickly

recalled, took to keeping
vigil squinting through windshield

broken with rising sun
leftward turn to face colors

vision cleared by daybreak
talking over soft music

exorcised of recall
without time or memory

southward bound, fenceline blur,
grass cuts through to meet asphalt

holds to green, frames the path
we should have kept going down

"for in one hour your judgment has come"

signs loom over streetside / nervous cat's eyes
pierce clear through foggy september morning

northward-bound now, fading comfort of signs
buzzing neon synthesizes still-life

pleads for glance back in great booming letters
hung from pipe scaffolds on low-slung buildings

hung like dry gardens / like each day, the cat,
quite tired enough by morning of waiting

stopped pacing at sight of eyes squinting back,
asked for food & water, leapt up to bowl,

took in loud wonder of tap's sudden rush,
happy simply not to wait all alone.

elegy for an icecube

left alone in hot tea,
does not care for last words
or left-behind traces
of language suspended
in small frozen circles

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