Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jason Irwin: Their Hands

All I remember were their hands holding me down: my mother’s father’s, a young nurse who gripped my left arm, and the doctor, who, before each prick into my skin, assured me it wasn’t a needle, just his finger. After I grew tired of screaming and thrashing, I lay staring up at the light. In the stale silence, unable to speak or move, I thought about the chimpanzee they told me lived in a cage in the hospital’s basement. He learned sign-language and every morning begged his handler to set him free. 


Copyright 2016 Jason Irwin. From A Blister of Stars published by Low Ghost Press.

Photo: N.J. Wight’s Wild! Life

4 comments on “Jason Irwin: Their Hands

  1. Liz Moran
    October 15, 2020

    “stale silence” is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rosemaryboehm
    October 15, 2020

    Heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    October 15, 2020

    And once I get past my own pain, I once again look at my own species and its cruelty

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barbara Huntington
    October 15, 2020

    This immediately took me back to when my brother and I had the flu and were taken to the doctor daily for a week to have Penicillin jabbed in our little tushes ( yes I know, antibiotics for flu, but this was 60 something years ago). One day I tensed so hard I broke the needle.

    Liked by 1 person

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