ANTIDOTE WITH ATTEMPTS AT DIAGNOSIS
They did the test of the body placed beside a flint-skinned nurse, the test for epidemics formed of mirrors, the test of the lethal pills hidden in the eyeglasses.
They did the flow of sodium ions into nerve cells, they did filth in each of the orifices, they did a gem, a pollen shape, they did a transfusion to the vein.
They kept evolving unpredictable results, found a vertigo of snakes and called it the mind, found time and called us its puppets.
They began to sense eternity and accumulate remorse.
They filmed the corrosion each touch would cause, test for hemorrhaging, test for poison, test for the memory of adolescent faith.
They found the secret room where all the genomes drape. They closed a hand’s palm made of images over all nomadic sleep.
They found a landscape in the eye, doing its quiet singing.
They mixed situations to administer with the full complexity of weather, mixed the plumage of unmade bones with their gutterless fray, with a thaw as raw as speech, to help them fracture like timbers or a dove’s cluttered voice.
They proceeded with medications, experimental embalming, anorexic restoration, therapeutic disturb.
They admitted an inability.
They lost count of the dying. They fished infants from the creek.
They slept in proximity of the mouths of others to be somewhat like breath.
This poem first appeared in Indiana Review and is forthcoming in Militello's second collection, Body Thesaurus, with Tupelo Press.