Sterile, a poem by Elizabeth Fortune at



written by: Elizabeth Fortune


I’ve been scrubbed clean. They’ve sterilized my brain
and peeled back my skin so they could reach
the arteries, capillaries – my veins
are filled with cleaning products. Lysol, bleach
are circulating to and from my heart.
An antiseptic glow, fluorescent lights
iluminate my lungs – two shopping carts,
the left one slightly larger than the right.

I’ve swallowed dimes. In my stomach they see
safety pins and rings. I’m put on display
while the X-ray machine makes love to me.
They will not be sending me home today,
not while I’m stinking of chlorine. No, not
while admission is charged at my hospital cot.

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