Butterfly (for NaPoWriMo, Day 12)

You were not mean, exactly,
but you were petty, and sometimes
this is all that’s required; a certain
businesslike adherence to rules
and procedure is enough to shut
the door when a world, a life
has narrowed down to this one
sharp point. I couldn’t have a
butterfly needle, you said,
because my veins were big,
and butterfly needles are for
small veins, and there wouldn’t be
enough suction for it to go quickly,
and you weren’t about to wait ten
minutes for my blood to fill the vial.
I’m sure I became a little wild then.
I’m sure you saw the rough edges
of panic that I cover pretty well
with politeness and with
numbing cream. I called it what
it was, then, a phobia. You walked
out, without a word or a glance. (Isn’t
there anything that scares you?) You
should know that Tara scoffed when
I told her what you’d said. You should
know that she threw away your vial
and big needle, now unsterile and
unneeded. You should know that
I loved her, would have given her
more blood if she’d asked me to.
By the way, it only took a minute
or so to fill the new vial, even with
the butterfly needle. Tara was
quick, and she was kind;
sometimes this is all
that’s required.



NaPoWriMo, Day 12 prompt: Write a poem that consists of things you’d like to say to a particular person but never would.


4 thoughts on “Butterfly (for NaPoWriMo, Day 12)

  1. God, I hate needles. I’ve never donated blood as a result. All the blood tests required during pregnancy nearly killed me. I had to lie down or risk passing out–and sometimes, I still passed out! You’re a brave, brave lady, Marilyn Cavicchia.

    Also, I love how blunt and vivid (and, yes, sharp) this poem is.

    • Thanks, Jennifer! I know what you mean about pregnancy. I got through it, twice, because it was on someone else’s behalf. And I had natural childbirth because the thought of the epidural scared me more than labor. I thought after all those blood tests, I’d be over it for good, and my fear did decrease somewhat once I was still in the situation. But now I’m back to it! I feel guilty not donating blood, but wow, I couldn’t do that, either.

    • Thanks! I used to torture myself by watching the medical show “ER.” Life is much better since I’ve made peace with this phobia and figured out ways to make the experience a little easier to bear — rather than trying to fight my fear or feel bad for having it.

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