Poetry

The Electrode Less Travelled

The tall blonde Swedish girl points to my trousers

and orders: Get Them Off! So I get them off.

I am told to lie down and think of Ulrike.

(She doesn’t really say that but that’s what I do.)

She sticks needles up and down my legs.

I have to compare each tiny pain to every other.

Then I’m wired up with electrodes that send electric pulses

from the nerve endings in my feet up my spine and back again.

If I shock you too much you can sue me for abuse—

so shout when the pain becomes unbearable.

I check that her badge reads NHS NEUROLOGY,

not GUANTANAMO BAY RENDITION CENTRE.

The readings I’m getting seem to suggest that

there might be an underlying non-neurological problem.

I think you will need to see your doctor for a blood test.

Also, it will help if you provide a urine sample.

I mull this over.

Let me get this straight—you’re getting on my nerves

and now you want my doctor to take the piss?

So, what’s left for my friends to do?

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