The Wonders of Modern Medicine


By John Roth

Suffering from a traumatic event,
              a man emerges from the charred
wreckage.  That’s when paramedics
              rush him to the local ER and doctors
thread his knuckles with surgical wire
              to sew the flowing red gashes shut.

Thin strips of gauze sip fresh blood foaming
              from the wound like a shaken cocktail.
They reset every broken bone in his body,
              and mend them with only a handful of pins.
When they slice through his bruise-
              printed belly, and crack open his ribcage,

he looks like a busted party piñata
              or a gimp-legged frog splayed out
across a cold, waxy dissection tray,
              as each sterilized utensil pries deeper
into flesh-work.  With his sleek X-rays
             shoved into the slats between a light-

screen, the hard, fluorescent glow
             of his skeleton becomes a visible road map.
And when the effects of anesthesia finally
             subside, he will offer profuse thanks
to some nameless god, all because
             he couldn’t remember a thing.


John Roth is a 23-year-old student living in Ohio. His poems have most recently appeared, or are forthcoming, in The Orange Room Review, The Eunoia Review, Toasted Cheese, and Poetry Pacific, among a few others.