Tick

I look down, and it’s on my thigh,
just sitting there,
sucking the last bit of self from me,
and I wonder, for a second, how it lives,
all those antidepressants in my blood,
all those germs on public toilets.
What a time to get a tick, I think,
for these bumps to arise,
pushing through my skin,
rolling on up to my face.
They turn my lips into plums,
my eyes to walnuts,
cheeks some kind of
grocery store casualty –
this before the breathlessness,
the slow wheeze of memory,
you there laughing
the first time it happened,
saying I looked like a gourd.
That was before EpiPens.
That was before we knew disease.
That was before the bored tick
of the clock
counted too many hours
of us in the ER together,
and you’d grown impatient.
I wish it had happened sooner,
to be honest.
I wouldn’t have wasted
the air it took
to tell you to get it off me.
I wouldn’t have wasted
the years that followed,
those torpid years,
wheeling me into today
where toilet paper,
a tight pinch and a jab
will have to work their magic.
And I, stuck in the bathroom stall
listen in fascination
to the way the thing pops
between my fingers,
my own life in its body,
dripping back into my hands.
I wait to feel normal again.
I don’t even miss you.

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