At The Clinic
About once every two months,
I get an email that says
my hour has come.
I hover on “cancel indefinitely” —
but then choose “confirm,”
because I’m watching myself.
When I arrive, they have questions:
they want to know, for instance,
whether I spend time around monkeys, or train them.
If I keep silent,
they will look at me politely
and send me home.
But I pass from one station to the next,
and get to chatting
with Azza from Egypt.
“The right,” I say, and climb in the chair.
I guess, wrongly, that Azza is from Turkey,
but she’s not rude to me —
She’s very polite, in fact.
She thinks it’s great that I’m going
to visit my father tomorrow.
She swabs with antiseptic
the point where she will wound me;
she asks if I’m comfortable.
I’m grateful for these small courtesies,
so I try not to notice when
she stabs a piece of metal in my arm.
This must happen, but I resent it.
I resent the intrusion.
And my mind does not wander.
So I sit, with a needle
like a large mosquito that knows he’s safe,
and I think about
that Donation, when crude needles drew out
his iron in heavy drops,
and plasma ran in rivulets
that smeared his body and stained the dirt —
and how, I have received it,
his life, in many units.
Text: Jeffrey Hynds