Portrait of a Lady


She said that her soul had gone septic.
What she’d been calling neurobehavioral and
pathophysiological, was now something made of
mildew and dogshit.

She asked me if I knew about the salmon.
Apparently, the Prozac in the water makes them
forget how to breed.
She asked if I knew about the mice.
About their medically measurable despair,
how they swim until they float and are scored on their survival time
and their necks are cracked and brains flash frozen
and their serotonin accounted.

She told me that we were experimentally naïve animals,
eager and able
and bloody and unbalanced.
Ripe for sedation.

Undigested sewage eventually makes its way to
the Great Pacific Garbage Patch where
a community of plastic aspires to eternal life.
She told me she’d call me when she got there.

Linden Smith