by Stephen Payne

It's as if your whole future has been sucked
from your forearm, squeezed into a phial
and isolated on a rack to be fucked
about with by white-coats, put on trial

by chemical, while you helplessly await
the spoken verdict like the accused stripped
naked, stretched, steeling yourself to translate
the doctor's twisted inverted script -

negative: the prayed-for
positive: the nightmare.

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