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This poem is taken from PN Review 82, Volume 18 Number 2, November - December 1991.

Counting Sheep White Blood Cells Sujata Bhatt

(for Jo Shapcott)

It was like being ordered
              to count the stars
and to classify them
by their size, their brightness -

And it was like being ordered
to count all the tiny wild flowers
in a never-ending field
        and to name them -

There were days
when she, the lab technician
would sit staring through the microscope
for five hours straight
counting sheep white blood cells.

It didn't put her to sleep.
Instead, it made her eyes feel powerful,
it made her feel wired

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