Medication Administration


Every morning, every night

He folds his hands and holds them up

I spill out the blister packs

Scarlet pills in a scarred white cup.


I have seen that shape before

And now I find it troubles me.

Those hands held in just that way.

But I can’t place the memory.


Capsules gather in his hands

Each decoction in its turn

With names like Latin liturgies

That neither of us care to learn.


They’re meant to still his demons

Quiet the trembling in his limbs

Meant to make his visions cease

And meant to win some rest for him.


Only later on that night

When all is quiet on the floor

I remember where I’ve seen

Those hands make that shape before.


On Sunday at the altar

Patrick kneels with his hands held up

To eat, drink in that same way

Body and blood from that same cup,


He takes one like the other

Would that we all were so devout

Swallowing a mystery

For to cast a mystery out.

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