LAST HALF-LITRE

... One recent day at work they take my blood;
Almost a half-litre, trusting them
Yet as I do I still cannot watch this flow:
But drift in a rolling daze, punctuated
Only by a small stabbed ache in my elbow.

 The required time passes, and I try to rise
And cannot; and nearly faint.
Consternation surrounds me
On faces all about
As fingers pluck at my arm, touch
My neck, my carotid ? Blood pressure too low,
I hear them say; they keep me there an hour or more,
Priming me with drinks, with sugar
And I need and want it. And agree to telephone,
Borrowing a mobile to cancel my afternoon.

 Some time later, weak
But irked at this interruption
To my predicted day, I leave with care.

 Back at my desk, tired but calm
I surprise myself: my pockets filled
With wrapped sweets, above all surprise
At how I cram them in my mouth,
At my urgency in taking every one.
That must be the last time, they say;
Relief on their Red-Cross faces still tinged
With some concern. It saddens me
In this time of rising hopes, and Viagra,
And will the stock market bounce back again ?
My small but bitter metaphor.

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[ published 2002 in Squidink #3 ]

copyright G D Bolton 1998 - all electronic rights reserved