You and I fight in the kitchen—juice splattering the walls,
kale flesh on the floor, ginger dripping down our vertebrae—
because I had taken too much Ritalin, but it’s fine;
the neurologist said it’s fine, it’s fine. And I am crying
over the dirty dishes in our old sink that doesn’t drain well.
Recycled saline, I say. But your fingers whisper small circles
behind my ears, singing bluegrass hymns over the train whistle
we hear every hour. It’s okay. It’s okay, you say, holding up
a straw to my deaf mouth. After, my teeth beet-tinted, I shiver,
so you run the shower hot because you know
how Solumedrol makes me cold and Interferon makes me cold
and IVs make me cold. You take off your clothes
and mine; the carrot juice washes off my hands like rot.
Then, you see the bruises— the space
between the skin and the veins pooling to shades of blackberry
and eggplant. You trace the holes.
I tell you how yesterday, I watched the blood spray out
at the sweaty nurse in the faded scrubs.
I keep seeing him jump back and goddamn,
forcing gauze so fast on the opening,
I thought I burned him. You’d never burn anyone,
you say, planting your feet to rinse the brine off us both.
Hannah Baggott, a Nashville native, is a poet of the body. She is pursuing an MFA in poetry at Oregon State University while teaching writing courses. She has received awards for flash fiction and critical writing in gender studies. Her work can be found in Tupelo Quarterly and other journals. Learn more at hannahbaggott.com.
Read an interview with Hannah here.