Blood Work

by Nicole Callihan

Nicole Callihan

The phlebotomist tells me I’ve gotta lean into the tide.
I turn my head so as not to see the needle go in.
A habit. One of many.
Which tide to lean into?
It’s the next August, what I would have called “a year from
now” a year ago.
If a year ago was a year from now, then.
I’d like to be in the pool with Ella, holding her body to help
her float, watching her bat her eyes at the sun, the sky as blue
as this tourniquet.
Has it passed? Am I through?
I could spend a decade writing odes to the sound of the air
The last time I was in the waiting room, a man in the chair
beside me sketched birds. I’d hoped to see him today.
Or not him, but the birds.
Or not the birds, but the space around them.
Sky as collection of molecules above water, around bird.
What did the drowning woman say to the fish?
Kelp me.
What’s gotten. What’s had. Forgotten. Forhad.
Of my to-dos, I to-did.
Of the tide, my blue intervals vary.
And, really, this tourniquet is just so blue.

Last updated November 23, 2022