Lauren Goodwin Slaughter
In the quiet voice I enforce all nights
by this hour
my husband asks the nurse in
and would she like
and shows her to the table where we’ve laid it
all out: the tiny vial,
the needles, the orange, a square of gauze
like timid dodge-ball hopefuls.
Was that a crying noise?
We three share a look and sit. One jewel
of sweat unlocks,
smears a strip down my too-rouged cheek.
No time, no time at all, you’ll have this down
she jabs the rind, greenish
too is ill.
But once I culled a soul
and my middle brewed it—a swimmer
boy with fly wing
skin like mine.
My turn next
with the syringe and there it is
Don’t hurt, you’ll see . . .
the crying sound again, I flash
down the hall to that sweet-smell dark belonging
to someone else.