The Bottle (John Stone)

Summers ago, after the woman
had moaned and birthed it
onto little more
than a kitchen table,

he sealed it in a bottle
while the sun bore down
and the patients waited.

In that long bath
it remains a monster
that couldn’t live in air
but lasts in formalin

its forehead pressed against
the glass as though
against an endless window.

What magic did he use it for?
What lesson did it teach him,

or his patient,
frightened anyway of what
the doctor might have to say
over his glasses

and the fetus
twenty years old on the shelf
staring at them both

believable as any genie.


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