Tuesday, November 14, 2023


 Kleck Blot

-after Justinus Kerner 

The cloudy indigo sky of the morning

Was a Rorschach blot demanding

Interpretation before I could

Start my hospital rounds

If you see a camel 

Wandering the shores of Lake Erie

It means you’re a psychopath

Just turn around and go back home 

If you perceive a zebra mounting your mother

From behind take a bow, doff your cap

It means your mind is half striped

Half strapped

As for those other clouds

Avert your eyes from the billowing

Dress that shows too much when 

You stare too long at the liquid sun

Call yourself from a burner phone

Ask to meet for lunch

And then ghost him 

Like the pathetic fool deserves

I’m just a surgeon, not a priest

The only religion I know is alone in the ICU

Watching a post op slowly swirl 

Around the edges of the drain

When the family comes in the morning

The intensivist and hospice nurse

Advise that they pull the plug

Which is the worst metaphor;

Uncle Hank isn’t just a toaster 

You can disconnect

When he catches on fire. 

These particular clouds are dark and inky

But nothing like storm clouds.

Dr. Kerner would draw faces on them

And turn them into clowns

Laughing down at me as I slotted my modest little car

In its tidy little space in the pared down doctor’s lot 

Of the perfectly redundant suburban hospital  

Where I show up every day to work.

One day Kerner conjured a sawmill 

From a particular lobular inkblot

Which is odd given the relative sharpness

Of the toothed circular blade 

And those perfect cornered planks.

But when you see death

Nothing ever appears

Straight again.

My clouds are much softer

Like velvet pillows for a coffin.

But first, a snack.

Bring me those pickled hearts

Floating in the mason jar

With the bulging lid.


No comments: