“You can do it, we trust you,”

My resident tells me, but

I don’t trust myself.

I don’t trust that I will prick my patient

Once

And see waxy mahogany climb

The silvery hollow thorn

I hold like a pen.

I hold a ballpoint pen

And practice my movement,

Charting landmarks on my wrist:

The styloid process of the radius, a cliff

On the lateral edge of human wrist,

The tendon of the flexor carpi radialis, tense

But tensile like the Q’eswachaka,

And in between and under,

The winding, pulsating river from which I will draw.

I ink in my wrist and my memory

The path of minimal pain.

Because I’ve seen the paths of maximal pain,

Where the beveled steel carved tunnels into the flesh,

Making faces grimace as if crucified.

In my patient’s face I...

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