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3 Poems by Nina Corwin

Once Over With Air Piped In
       Calm they come
                       the Ushers
scrubbed scentless        issuing
       directives I eschew but who
              am I (insurance poor & fresh
out of band-aids back home)?
Reeking procedure, they wait me up
              for measurement. Hiss of air
       piped in         tick tock too loud by half.
              Out of reach     Examiners play
Touch      & Go with time => Send
       lackeys in ahead to pull down
stretch of paper sheet & hand me gown
              gone pale-thin from too many
       hot water washing.
Change says they & I change
              Tell me bottle needs filling
       Say open a vein & be fountain
              Spit milksop of history.    I spit
(as instructed):
       Voila! my trainwreck
              litany.     See symptom checklist =>
       X for yes     initial here & here
       at bottom         sign:
       Shall Speak Only As Spoken To.
Now they truss me up
              for table ready    (or not)     & set
               for scrutiny.
       Doctor of Notes to crack
              open the door & go groping.
Stirrups & poker up next on agenda –
       Order me spread & I spread.
Eye To Eye
are you my doppelganger
              or a piece of glass
                       (are those)
little MEs reflected
       in your eyes or hapless
              fish in history’s net
the pupil dilates
       drinking sidelong dust
              from slats of light
I follow        (dissolving)
       an out-of-whack planet
              tripped up in invisible moons
when substrate binds with enzyme
              something catalytic
chromosomes scatter
       like bread crumbs
              for pigeons
the circle reduced to a lasso of matter
       a time-noose        a bracelet
              of chicken and egg
O second hand        grab me
       and hold on for dearly
              O first hand unclench me
       and let me alone
Becoming Mortal Man: The ForeGoing
They will OFFer your ashes at no extra charge.
We will ask for time to cogitate.
An amber valence overcoming. One step
from sepia greets us (a pLUG in
the wall with cord gone off kilter). The man
in the palindrome hat will recommend mahogANY.
Hustle us into a room in the back.
Stealth exit, a side door unDIGnified.
Back in the LOBby, he does Uriah Heap things
with his hands. Obsequious gestures
sidestepping discussion of low cost options
(your elbow digs into my left side).
We will tire of polishing hardWARe. Know the bronze
for no bargain, no throw-in.
Receipt in an unsealed envelope. Lid open –
but subtly. Next stop, the NEEDle procedure.
We will settle on the barebones special. Pauper pine.
The palindrome hat looks ASKance
(Drab as a fool, aloof as a barD). In sum,
the eyebrows have it. All sewn up. And SOon
we’ll be stuck
with the finicky lid. Warped so LITtle
pandoras sLIP out.
We will joke about dumpsters and ice floes.
Our sleep will offEND us.
Nina Corwin is the author of two books of poetry,The Uncertainty of Maps and Conversations With Friendly Demons and Tainted Saints. Her poetry has appeared in From the Fishouse, ACM, Forklift OH, Hotel Amerika, New Ohio Review/nor, Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review and Verse and has been nominated for the Pushcart prize. Corwin is an Advisory Editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal and curator for the reading series at Chicago’s Woman Made Gallery. She lives in Chicago, where she is a practicing psychotherapist known for her work on behalf of victims of violence.