I sit on a padded bench next to a woman in shabby clothes.
I’m nervous, I tell her. It’s a good thing to do, she says.
We watch a woman scroll through her feed while a bag
plumps as it rocks, and a nurse moves bins around,
uses a pen to mark a clipboard, and talks about
Popeyes tempting her for lunch,
how she could feel it pulling her
as gravity pulls the blood out of the man’s arm
in the other chair and into the small belly of his bag.
They hook up the woman in the shabby clothes
and then it’s my turn. I look out the window at the sidewalk
while she does it. Like, you’ll eat chicken but rather not see
how it’s prepared. I’ll do the good thing, but I won’t look
at how I did it. The woman in the shabby clothes doesn’t feel well
and they have her put her knees up and lie back. They give her juice.
The nurse leaves for Popeyes. The blood leaves my body
through a tube and a needle that will never be used again.
The name for the quick intake of blood into a butterfly needle
is called the flash. How pretty that is.
There are cookies by the door. I don’t feel woozy.
In my office, I’ve left a YouTube video of the sound of rain playing.
When I put my headphones on, I mistake it for resounding applause.