Quicksilver Mess, At Your Service

Once, when I was young and hot–
I was, too, once! That time I caught
The flu when I was five or six–
I whacked one of those fever sticks
Against the bedpost shaking it
To clear the reading, breaking it,
And all the mercury ran out.
The silver beads convulsed about
Atop my Snoopy bedsheets ’til
I herded them into a pill
That nestled nicely in my palm.
I loved the way it sat there, calm
As heavy-metal fruit could be–
That’s a cucumber reference, see?–
Until I poked it. Then it shattered
And the shiny liquid spattered
All across my open hand
And then, when I gave the command
(And cupped my palm), it coalesced
Once more into the biggest, best,
Most toxic toy I’d ever had!
And no, it didn’t taste that bad.
(Just kidding! Don’t forget than when you
Have the flu, there is no menu.)
Scarlet-tinted alcohol
Replaced my little Hg ball
In later years for safety’s sake,
And digitals are hard to break,
So kids today may never learn
That though their heads may pound and burn,
Some lucky, clumsy girls and boys
Find brief relief in fever toys.


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