1 min
As she sticks the needle into me
Fiddles with it until the blood trickles
Into place in the first of five vials
She asks why I’m here
“School” I tell her
Still eying the rubber tubing
Winding in her hand
And she asks me where I live
Assuming that I’m only here
Because I have to
Because I’ve been out of the country
And I say China proudly
Though weak from missing breakfast
For the bloodwork
“That’s so cool” she says
Her eyes still on my blood in her hand
Red hot in the clear vials
“My friend’s boss’s wife is actually from there”
I know she’s smiling behind her mask
Waiting for me to say “oh really”
Half-sarcastically as approval
Before she realizes
“Wait, no, she’s from Korea”
Embarrassed but not apologizing
I look at my blood
Willing it to rush faster into the bottle
All of it boiling inside my body
Dark as embers
As I joke about the “good food there”
And listen to her rant on about
How “they stay there for a month at a time
Because it’s so far”
Before she bandages me with white gauze
And a strip of blue
Tape on my arm
Sandwiching the red in my body
Unsettled by her
“Safe trip home honey”
Though I’m still smiling

A few words for the author? Comment below. 12 comments

Take a look at our advice on commenting here

To post comments, please
Image of Tracy Yuan
Tracy Yuan · ago
I love this poem! Very relatable and the ending is powerful
Image of Zhamg Ray
Zhamg Ray · ago
Image of Houda Belabd
Houda Belabd · ago
A powerful poem, for sure! My full support goes to you!
Image of Duan Mark
Duan Mark · ago
I like the poem and will read it again later in a learning manner.
Image of Xiangjuan Fan
Xiangjuan Fan · ago
Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
Great description of a societal matter ! My support and good luck!
Image of Tony Martello
Tony Martello · ago
Awesome, you made it to the finals: My full support- 5 votes. I also have 2 stories that made it to the finals: "Maize of Color" and "Green Springs" and vote for continued support! Tony
Image of Christine Chen
Christine Chen · ago
Thank you so much, Tony!! You're also so talented and kind. You have my support.