A stitch in time
Banality or stupidity: how
did the knife slip from its intended path
and end up slicing through my finger? Blood
everywhere, oozing, then pumping, flowing
freely, deep ugly, red, between fleshy
cliffs, the wound’s edges. Chaotic, shrill pain,
short, sharp shocks, cold water flowing, flushing
out the sudden gulley, cleansing, thinning
my life’s liquid. Little finger, left hand,
right down to bright bone. Instant recall, first
aid course. Sheet from paper towel, staunch, press
down, pressure, find gauze, bandages, scarlet
ink, my blood, not royal blue. Take bathroom
towel, run down corridor to garage,
leaving fresh blood spoor, the cat following,
sniffing, licking the floor, hand clumsy on
steering wheel, drive to emergency, fast.
Three nurses attend me. The first completes
the triage, stops the bleeding, bandages
my hand, gauze pads press down, sends me to wait.
Second nurse inserts needles, kills the nerve,
cleans the wound, sews my little finger up.
Three stitches. A tubular dressing. Time
now for third nurse, anti-T-jab, checks me
for PTSD, smiles sadly, sends me home.