Because there are no disposal laws for syringes
in this state, I keep a bleach jug packed with syringes.
Once, in a dry-lipped fugue, I dropped two pens
in a full one; now the laundry is blood-fracked with syringes.
Even so, I believe it’s clean coming out of the dryer.
The white-coated vampire states it as fact: syringes
rinse the surgeries away. She’s got a house to feed,
where tiny mouths drool fluid like primed syringes.
I’m not dying yet, but she wants to be sure.
She asks me to deliver a ransom of syringes.
Labs, she calls them: needle-nosed hounds dispatched
by her keyboard; she doesn’t actually handle syringes.
Instead, she sends me to a different wing. The phlebotomists
thump the anti-coagulant in my syringes:
stop telling people that ain’t your hair when you bought it.
They pull blood but inject beauty—compassionate syringes.
On the drive home, the guardrails look like casket lowers;
lane markings, a mortician’s stitch; the cars blunt syringes
hunting out home, the vena cava, in which I brine
a life, my flesh as seasoned by syringes
as my mother’s holiday turkeys. I’m suspended between
every ancestor who lived or treasoned with syringes.
Their ghosts OD in my dreams; riddled with holes,
they beg me to remember their names. I ask which syringes
could bring them back to life. I awaken
to track marks under my nose. A new plot of syringes
dampens on the front steps. I am destined to infuse
survival with meaning, like honey clotting in syringes.