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The Rogue Patient

     Anthony Borruso

I haven’t been happy since the hospital. One hall

and a flock of nurses, their faces, crow’s feet
and white eyes over smokestack scrubs. Sorry
for them, I’d ask about their days, their kids,
their weekend plans. I sat by the window with one,

looking out into the parking lot at stray weeds

straining through cement. I asked if this was

a form of punishment or of help, she told me,
a little bit of both. At night we would line up for meds.
I thought about the movies, the rogue patient
who pretends to swallow, sweeping the mind medicine

under the tongue. I swallowed though. The brain

glazed over, the mind muddled grey. The nurse squinted

at my open mouth, pity billowed out in clouds.

Anthony Borruso is pursuing his Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Florida State University where he is a Poetry Editor for Southeast Review. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and was selected as a finalist for Beloit Poetry Journal's Adrienne Rich Award by Natasha Trethewey. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Beloit Poetry Journal, Pleiades, Spillway, The Journal, THRUSH, Moon City Review, decomP, Frontier, and elsewhere.

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