The Animal Hospital

Once upon a time on the island of Manhattan
In New York City, there was a most unusual
Animal hospital, and a strange animal hospital
It was, for, truth be told, it was a hospital that had

No animals in it; some said they simply vanished
Without trace, having all fled without even so
Much as a by-your-leave; a veterinary student,
Speaking on condition of anonymity, said that

They had grown weary of all the poking and
Prodding; a nurse in the parakeet department
Claimed that the patients had walked out in
Protest over a lack of gluten-free options, while

The assistant to the assistant to the assistant said
That the dean had been sowing his oats with one
Of the sows; whatever the case may be, having
An animal hospital without animals can prove

Nettlesome; imagine an animal hospital without
Any animals in it – whoever heard of such a thing?
Some would call this peculiar, while others would
Even call it preposterous; and so the hospital was

At risk of losing all their funding, along with their
Veterinary students who suddenly had no animals
With which to practice on; indeed, much hand-wringing
Ensued, until one fine day, someone came up with
The idea of using human patients on Medicaid instead

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.