Sodom and the Teaching Hospital

She was brought in by two border patrol officers; alone and
Terrified, she knew only three words in English: “Please” and
“Help me,” which she repeated plaintively; the doctors and
Nurses knew many thousands of words in English, yet “Please”

And “Help me” they knew not. Indeed, this was an elite teaching
Hospital, where the best and the brightest train; therefore they
Saw only scans and dollars, and knew no red lines for want of
Crossing. After seeing that she was stripped and handcuffed to

A hospital bed, one officer sauntered off to get a hamburger, while
The other plopped himself down and began reading the paper. An
Eager medical student, two nurses, and three residents were on
Hand to see that the finest health care was delivered that day – and

That orders were obeyed and followed unquestioningly. Addressing
The medical student, the chief resident waxed philosophical: “Do
Not make the mistake of thinking that this is a real person. Think
Of the creature as if it were a cat and that we were comfortably

Ensconced at a veterinary clinic.” And with this worldly wisdom
Imparted, undrowned came the deathly raven. The moons gazed
Down upon the canopy of innocence, a shattered fawn upon the
Ground. Laying hands on she who would be a patient, the ingénue

Crossed the Rubicon into night, leaving her soul on the outer banks.
Mind to matter, blessed light undone; the soul’s unraveling, unsacred
Night doth come. First there were the x-rays, then the forced pelvic,
Then the forced rectal, then the forced sigmoidoscopy; last, came

The powerful laxatives. After eleven hours, having found nothing,
They gave up, leaving a weeping eighteen-year-old Honduran girl
Rueing the day she ever left her native land, and wondering why
The US was so different in the movies. And the night rained down

On the pitiless lonely city, and the cruelty of the world bathed without
For lack of dream, and the violated anthem played again without
Surcease, and the desecration of the soul broke forth upon the
Heavens, enveloping the meek beyond the cess of sacrosanct stars.

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.