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The Full Treatment

      Algebrista y Sangrador


Barbering, bonesetting, bloodletting, it's all
In the equation, the unknown revealed, the patient
Healed, as proclaimed by the helical red-and-white pole,
Sign of a site of bandages and blood,
Where stubble's harvested, the left sideburn
Leveled with the right, a bubo lanced,
A famine lamented, the whispers of new belief
Drowned out by the slap of the blade on a leather strop,
As the neck's interrogated in a close
Shave, accenting the trim and pointy beard,
Blood's drawn in quantity from the crook of the arm,
Hair cut short and bobbed for a market economy,
Molar extracted, hernia repaired,
No amputation necessary, as yet,
Bone broken by heresy reset, to knit
Almost smooth and intact, and God is groomed
Cured, powdered, sprinkled with eau de cologne, back-slapped
And sent out to succeed in a new era.


Philip Fried

Squaring the Circle
Salmon Poetry / Dufour Editions


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