“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
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...