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Dr. Quigley Hands Out Prescriptions

2008 December 26
by J. Scott Mosel
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What Does Salvation Cost?

Carefully, like giving a balloon
to a child. You can tell them

all you want: hold on tightly,
don’t let go,

but the result
is the same: someone on the way

to heaven, someone lost
in the clouds,

someone barely visible,
a dot now

in memory, someone gone.

What does salvation cost,
he thinks to himself,

how long does it take
to rise?

There are deep craters
in the eyes of some patients.

Places you do not want to go.

Call out the darkness,
he remembers, give it color.

Close your eyes tight
watch the blood swirl

out of the iris and form
a kaleidoscope of cells

in your mind. Give it a name.
Name it the last thing you remember

as true. Call this
the color of the sky.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Charles Hopenopolie permalink
    January 11, 2009

    A truly brilliant piece. Excellent balloon image to the rising action/critical consciousness of the poem. Strong line breaks and powerful resolution. A more revealing aesthetic and tangible cognition to the mystery of Doctor Quigely.

    This character seems to be reaching a zenith (as opposed to, once again, drinking from the river Styx).

  2. January 11, 2009

    A mysterious soul, Dr. Quigley. He longs for the unattainable to a fault, as revealed in the longing for the untouchable river, or to see famous poets baking odes in his kitchen. His fascination with the couplet reveals his desire to unite with the “one,” or at least, to be the other side of the coin. It is more juxtaposition really, light/dark, ying/yang. But for Dr. Quigley, it is write/die, write/die. He couples himself to the unknown, almost unconsciously, and then leaves clues behind like a serial killer. We know the end of the story: he will be caught and lifted upon a stillborn flagpole for all to see. Thanks for that, Charles.

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