A woman is giving blood and she is terrified. Whether
this fear lingers from a pediatrician’s office or stems
from some fresher trauma I can not say. She is not
alone–her husband grips her wrist, his fingers lost between
hers. The knuckles of their hands are white as fresh
milk spilt across a tabletop, her heart beats with the ferocity
of a tire stuck in mud, the whine of gears against confinement.
The needle winks out of its sterile package and the woman
screams. And screams. Heads turn to watch the body convulse
in spasms of fright, running through her like frozen
oil–biting but refusing to stand still. Her husband twists her neck around
and kisses her. Chests arch forward off the back of chairs as her
legs writhe. Given and taken, they break
tears of red on the white cotton covering her wound, makeup
a mess on her face. What words pass between them,
the man standing, the woman nodding in a love-laden
daze? What words could be put to that intimacy, to describe
his touch against her burning flesh, her cries in his
ears? How could anyone outside of this beautiful
coupling adequately express the gratitude of this gift, as well
as the utter and complete lack of need?
Alex Franco studies Creative Writing and French at Bard College in New York, but his heart remains eternally in the South. He also writes a webcomic, Souper! …just super, because he likes to make people laugh when not writing poetry.