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  1. M P Alexander2
  1. 2Department of Pathology, St John’s Medical College, Bangalore, Southern India 560 066; priyaalexander{at}

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    I am an ellipse of darkened skin
 excised from Mr John
 I'm a worry to the surgeon
 Though I've been there since John was born.
 I was dropped into a bag of formalin
 To keep me firm and fit
 then whisked away to pathology . . ..
 Where with other specimens I did sit.
 At 2.00 pm it was grossing time
 And the resident picked me up
 She sized me up with a dreamy eye
 And dropped me in a capsule cup.
 The next stop was a histokinette
 Which spun me round and round
 Through alchohol, xylene, and paraffin
 To end up as a waxy mound.
 I was then sliced by the microtome
 And floated in an aqueous bath
 The technician laid me on a slide
 And stained me through a colourful path.
 When I was tinted perfectly
 I was placed upon a tray
 . . .shifted to the pathologist's microscope
 to be reported on that day.
 She peered at me with worried eyes
 Not once but nine times nine
 Then smiled, picked up her pen and wrote . . . . . ..