This is ______

Two, today because I’ve been absent from here for quite some time.

This is How a Fear of Needles is Born

This is me, the future me,
talking to the trembling child
hiding under the gurney in
the vast warren of the ER.sad-boy
You can come out.
The shot will hurt, but
not as much as it would
if you hadn’t fled, frightened,
forcing them to find you,
angered by your anxiety,
and “I thought you said
she has asthma,” so six
people (giants) chasing you
around the room, clever and
stealthy once you’ve gone to ground
in a further chamber in the labyrinth
of passages and treatment rooms.
Then: “I see her” “Get her!”
an “Ooof,” an “Ouch!” A muffled curse,
and then the shrill wail of
the creature, caught,
ringing through the room,
as though she were prey,
not victim after all.
The shot when it comes
will be more vicious and cruel
than it need be,
but don’t brace yourself,
try to relax so it doesn’t
hurt as much.
It will be over soon, hush.

This is How to Cure a Fear of Needles

The insistent buzz, the flickering
light. The artist is a trusted friend.
He has agreed to do this
complex design of mine,
and warns it will take hours.
He puts on a silly movie,
“Love at First Bite,”
ironically, one I will can
never enjoy again,
laced as it is with the
sharp memory of pain,
of the needles,
the sweat,
the blood.

Two sessions is what it takes.
Two or three hours each,
to build the design and
erase the fear the needles
(used to) bring by making something
indelible and beautiful
a part of who I am now.

The memory of facing the fear
is as permanent as the ink,
forcing the fear to be subservient
to the somehow-necessary
needling pain.
It has changed my point of view forever.
Neither prey,
nor creature caught,
but willful victim
nettled by design
and mended internally
of the stains a captive wears.



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