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Sport 35: Winter 2007

Andrew Johnston — The Otorhinolaryngologist

page 3

Andrew Johnston

The Otorhinolaryngologist

After having asked me to say Ah
after having himself said Ah

the otorhinolaryngologist
guided me silently over the ancient carpet

to a small white room with two low stools
and handed me a bulb on the end of a cord:

this, he said, is a cold light,
and I want you to put it in your mouth.

He flicked a switch and we sat in the dark
lit only by my ghostly face.

Suddenly I understood
history, weather, time,

I could see the skeleton
of every memory

the how of war
the knife of every scar;

everything I'd never learned
burned brightly in my mind—

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calculus, zoology,

I could see the otorhinolaryngologist
seeing me, I could see

how good he was, and beyond him
where evil came from,

the origins of language, and languages,
the splintering chaos

of thought, slowed down
till I could hear its ticking,

the birth of galaxies, planets and stars,
sped up so I could grasp all in an instant

but once his eyes had widened to the dark
in which my sinuses glowed

the otorhinolaryngologist
extinguished the light in my head

and turned on the light
in the small white room

plunging me into
familiar mist

through which I swam to
pay him and to leave—

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a cold wind blew down the street,
I was hungry, and stumbled,

hankering, perplexed,
abandoned again

to hunting for something
in the hollow spaces

in the voiceless spaces
filled with the sound of footsteps

into the dark.