Flu epidemics kill one tenth of one percent,
a number so small it barely ends a sentence.
Doc, a hairline fracture can’t begin to explain
why my knee hurts when the grandfather clock chimes ten.
By boosting the dosage of cure-all aspirin,
some patients experience the seedy side of heaven.
The Sheik of Araby is so rich that a special harem wraps
his paper cuts in silk gauze and long strands of their black hair.
Such safety in the way we number things. Two ingrown
toenails, a tonsillectomy, one true love in a lifetime maybe.
The pineal gland, once considered inactive, produces emotional longing,
changing the heart-shaped candies of Valentine’s to something lumpier.
Grandmother warns that when we sneeze, the heart hiccups
and refuses to beat until someone says “bless you.”
Distilled, the body’s metals are worth a hundred dollars,
while a good heart can get thousands in certain black markets.
The AMA considers “bacterium” their most successful myth.
Washing cuts doesn’t fight infection, but eases an inner body into the world.
Doctors call the collection of organs “harvesting”
because it’s the flower and fruit of their work.
Enough silver coats the aortic valves to plate the finest
candelabra, explaining the Quaker desire to find the inner light.
Yes, the inside of the body is known to be a gloomy place.
Surgeons rejoice when the first incision opens the stomach like a window.
The last time you were turned inside out, you were a tiny bud of foetus cells,
each cell deciding whether destiny was being a nose or a hair.
For each new disease, thousands of candidates line up like Olympic hopefuls.
Even the ghost symptoms haunt in believable ways.