Poem 213 ± January 3, 2016

Maureen Thorson
Gold Star

The doctors,
before healing,
must first uncover
my disease,

a trial that proceeds
by means of tests

The difference is
I’ve signed
a waiver,
so as they select

the ideal needle
for each ordeal,
I can think,
I signed up for this,

can think it
as my vision slips
from the ceiling’s
cheerful posters

to the widening eyes
of the frantic tech,
can hear her wails
as I succumb

to the precise
adverse reaction
the waiver
warned about.

And after unblinking
minutes spent
watching there
my object self,

my fleshly self,
I pulled through
into what we
hoped would be

a future. I’m good,
you see, at tests.
I’ve never
missed a class,

not the ones
that repeat:
same jaundiced
lance, same

dutiful suture,
not even the ones
with the miniature
concrete tamper.

I’ll ruin
this curve yet,
110 percent
and extra credit

at enduring
has approval
at the end.

It’s a kind
of grading, after all—
I worry at my worth,
and worrying, dissect

the glint within
this subsumed self—
the sort I’d think

of your skill
would hurry to preserve,
or better still,

SONY DSCMaureen Thorson is the author of two books of poetry, My Resignation (Shearsman 2014) and Applies to Oranges (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011), as well as a number of chapbooks, most recently The Woman, The Mirror, the Eye (Bloof 2015). She is at work on a book-length essay about everything. Visit her at maureenthorson.com.