i have learned the language
of phlebotomy —
about butterfly needles,
how many breaths will take me
through a 14-vial collection & the art of waiting.
i have come to expect
the dispassionate demeanor
of specialists, the sound of starched
white coats, the chill of exam rooms.
sterile interpretations of antigens,
antinuclear antibodies & sed rates
have expanded my vocabulary
if not my horizons.
weather forecasts have become meaningless,
the shortest day of the year too long,
yet somehow days continue to begin
& end in rush-hour traffic outside my window.
absent reason, i travel hope.
• • • •