Monday, March 5, 2018

"Blood Work at the VA" by Gene Hodge

Blood Work at the VA
Gene Hodge

Did she like me,
did she catch my smile
                                      as she pushed the needle in my arm?
Watching as the empty vial

fills with my warm blood,

I wonder. . . ,

Did she believe me
when I said, “you’re special?”

It’s her, the same nurse,
each year that
I return for my health screening.
Golden hair glowing
like sunlight through a cloud,
intoxicating sprit, sweet as honey crisp apples.

Unabashed, she hands me a container,
    “take this to the restroom
for a urine sample,
                               place it here on the table
as you leave.”

Just like that . . .  and it’s over!

Beautiful Cristy, passionate, cute Cristy
touching me for 
a Tuesday morning moment—
never to know
       the ache of a young man’s desire,
       the poem in his heart;
       a romantic novel—

Each page with her name written in gold.

Poet’s Notes:  Each year the Veterans Administration offers a health screening and each year the same nurse administers my blood work and urine analysis.  Being friendly and offering kind words is easy when you are a visitor but must become routine and mundane to the worker.  The patient is just another patient.

Editor’s Note:  This one is charming as an unrequited love poem but also makes an important statement about the depersonalization from which healthcare workers and patients often suffer.  The grammatical error in line 9 was left in by the poet’s direction (and over my objection) to give the piece a more colloquial feel.

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