In the voice of a character named Imre:


The smell of other people’s breakfasts through open windows.

Early morning Saturday blood test.

Go early so you won’t have to wait past

Your appointed time. Your appointment time.

They know you’re coming. Called you yesterday.

Reminding you of a half-remembered date

Three, maybe four months ago.

Come home. Stranger asks if you know

What time the bus comes.

I don’t know, you say.

Are you here just by chance? She asks.

Yes, you say. But you’re still

Waiting for the bus.

Driver goes slow, announces every stop

Like a man who knows he’s on time.

Feel elated, having the blood pulled from you.

You pretend you won’t look but you always

Watch it pierce the skin.

Lab tech has you press down cotton and

You wonder as you fight not to cross over

Your legs – if you didn’t press –

If no one pressed when the needle

Came out – would it spurt?

Blood right into the centrifuge of

This lab – where they take you

If you’re early. Even

By forty minutes.

– Linden Imre Tanner.

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