IV. In the Clinic

By Karla Reimert
Translated by Patty Nash

I swallow tablets.

May all sensation bend tenderly

to my will.

The doctor talks loudly at me, his notes

gurgle and scrape. His speech is a giant organ.

The doctor pulls one register after the next.

Doctor, that reminds me of home.

A finger taps the sheet before me.

And taps. Tapping, as if there were

a doorbell, an entry. Instead:

tasks double,

spin, shrink.

Numbers and rooms, punch cards,

steps, ever-quickening to

a drummed beat,

The only thing in my head

is confusion, says the doctor.

I look away and

the wrong cadenzas slip in fugues.

Karla Reimert is a German poet. Her first book, Picknick mit Schwarzen Bienen (Picknick with Black Bees), was published in 2014 and won the Berlin Literaturwerkstatt’s Prize for Best Debut. Reimert has won the Würth Poetry Prize, the Rheinsberg author forum prize, and the Essay Prize for the Japanese Consulate.

Patty Nash is a poet and translator. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in New Delta Review, Juked, Prelude, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She tweets at @pattynashdj.