… sometimes comes at first sight
A teenage apprentice with a little plastic badge
bearing her name asked me to reveal my birthdate.
This apparently confirmed that I knew who I was,
so she bound my arm with a thick rubber thong.
My veins swelled up, long thin leeches, slowly fattening.
She told me to make a fist and pouted as she probed
with slender fingers, feeling in vain for a fresh vein
from which to extract, then bottle the necessary blood.
I watched my body’s sap pumping out in tiny, sad spurts
driven by that tired flesh-and-blood machine known as
my heart. Drip by febrile drip my blood accumulated.
The young girl smiled with youth’s perfect lips and teeth.
My heart was a time-bomb ticking beneath her fingers.
I dreamed for an instant of walking upright and free,
a stranger in the paradise of a long-promised land.
Then she handed me my gifts: a throw-away plastic potty,
three disposable spatulas, and an air-dry sample card,
with written instructions, date stamped, bearing my name.