On the Condition

They’ve stopped punishing those
who are unregistered. Now
and again, somebody undocumented
is greeted by a friendly Liaison saying
“Let’s get you in the system, shall we?”
And then the benefits come, credits
every month on the condition
of pills: birth control, nutrition,
mood, sleep. Participation
is voluntary and strict.
Nobody ever calls this
a laboratory, but sometimes,
when your dosage is low
as you contemplate
the evening pillbox,
you think that this is
maybe how those mice feel,
belly up and waiting
for the milky syringe.

—Michael Lisieski