SAD PHARMAKON, BY AIDAN FORSTER
Outside the clinic, the morning
shepherds its gentle wreckage:
daylilies girthing the lot, a ’55
wheat penny & its cradle of snow,
a fabulous weather of elsewheres
descending, surely, south of here.
My doctor says risk & I think
possible rain, pawn shop, porn star,
risk & my face won’t stop sucking
beauty from tomorrow’s treeline,
risk & men un-thou themselves
from my softly mammaled orbit.
Later, the phlebotomist’s antique burr
coaxes into the crook of my elbow
& if I’m honest, I fear nothing
more than beauty’s departure,
my blood siphoning backwards
into an improbable shantung,
the eventual & the now collapsed
into this bridal crop of red.
Beneath the paisley underskirt
of what I know, I harbor only necessities:
boiled milk sipped from a caviar spoon,
my T4 cells lassoing their beasts of fortune,
my flaxen wish to stay alive
fielding itself again & again
in the dark, unblinking acre
of the day after the day after tomorrow.
At the end of the appointment,
when the doctor asks if I have any questions,
I shed, briefly, my garb of evasion.
I come, brutal, just shy of clean:
Where is my better body,
waiting for me to happen to it?
Come on, Doc, tell me. I’m dying
to know what doesn’t have a cure.
Aidan Forster is the author of the chapbooks Exit Pastoral (YesYes Books, 2019) and Wrong June (Honeysuckle Press, 2020). His work appears in The Adroit Journal, Best New Poets 2017, Columbia Poetry Review, DIAGRAM, Ninth Letter, Teen Vogue, and Tin House, among others. He works as an associate editor for Sibling Rivalry Press and a poetry reader for Muzzle. A graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities’ creative writing program, he studies Literary Arts and Public Health at Brown University. He was born in 2000.