—April 1853 casebook entry, Dr. John Snow
Snow, a name like a blizzard in springtime summoned to the Palace
where the baby turns inside the Queen. A magician’s hand
come to release his apothecary jar into the darkened room
like a glass dove. Blessed handkerchief. Blessed sail laid at
your lips. Sweet drip of chloroform. What does a Queen see
in her closing eyes? Strolling the canal the length of the gardens.
Resting the fruit of the mulberry tree, heavy, vaguely womb-shaped,
in her hand. A name like white petals giggling in the whirl of his
swift gait, the glint of his waistcoat buttons all in a row, all things
delightful. Somewhere a curtained bed drifts downriver. Somewhere
a baby is crowning. Come back behind the closed door and lie down.
Come back already from the flank of trees. The bird has retired
to the sleeve. Someone lifts the baby His Royal Highness the Prince
like a balmy fruit plucked from the bed sheets. Has the sweet fire
thawed from your throat? Is that your baby? Did you see how he did it?
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