When the Only Medicine is a Popsicle Shot

By Pat Edwards

They’re injecting defrosted Popsicles at the surgery,
hoping for a cure before their eyes freeze, stare out
at patients who are, frankly, incredulous, bewildered.
We’ve tried everything else, they plead, don’t blame us,
besides it’s only water, sugar and colouring. Not sure
that’s safe though, smells like instant diabetes to me.

Patients trust them enough to pull up their sleeves,
wince at the scratch, grateful for it to be all over.
They stagger out, promising themselves a nice cup
of tea and a little sit down. No one thinks about
the consequences. They boast, I’ve had my Popsicle
like it’s the responsible thing to do, being a good citizen.

I imagine there will be an inquiry at some expense to
the tax payer. Arguments will be batted back and forth
like a tiebreak in tennis. We were duty-bound to try,
whispers the health official. You were duty-bound
to conduct proper tests, the lawyer retorts. Sugar
drips from their mouths, runs in their veins, spins.

My name is Pat Edwards and I’m a writer, reviewer and workshop leader from mid Wales. My work has appeared in Magma, Prole, IS&T, Atrium and others. I host Verbatim open mic and curate Welshpool Poetry Festival. My debut pamphlet, Only Blood, was published by Yaffle in 2019, and my next, Kissing in the Dark, is due out with Indigo Dreams this year.

All of us have been impacted by this awful disease and it hasn’t finished with us yet. A reliable vaccine remains our best hope but who knows when that will be developed and ready for use in the mass population? We are totally reliant on the scientists to find the answers and on politicians to do what’s right. With power comes responsibility and we have to pray our government is capable.

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Moira Garland
1 year ago

Well said, Pat, in this magical poem.

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