I was having blood drawn again, undergoing testing
for my mysterious ailment. The phlebotomist and I
inhabited the usual mix of small talk and silence—
then she giggled. What is it? I said. It’s just,
isn’t this strange? she said, holding up a vial of my blood.
To see what you are made of, in the hands of a stranger?
. Totally, I said. I always thought that was weird,
but I never said anything because you’re so professional.
You act like it’s no big deal. No, yeah, she said,
gazing at the vial. It’s wild. Your mom is in here,
your dad, your future kids. Your habits, your secrets.
. I feel like your job is one of the realest jobs there is,
I said. All this for fourteen dollars an hour, she said.
I wasn’t sure what to say next. Money issues tend
to make me uncomfortable. So, she said, you want
to party? She peeled off her gloves, hit the lights,
uncapped the vial containing my blood, and took a sip.
The needle was still in my arm, but the hose
was disconnected so my blood dripped onto the floor.
She grabbed the hose, put it to my lip. Try some,
she said. No, no, I said. It was great to meet you, but—
. Listen, she said. I know your type. I’ve tasted you.
Just do what I say, you dirty dog. Take this terrible dream
out of my head. Take this terrible dream, and suck on it.
Copyright © Mikko Harvey. Originally published in Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit (House of Anansi Press, 2018).
Mikko Harvey is the author of Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit (House of Anansi, 2018) and his poems appear in places such as Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Lemon Hound, and Maisonneuve. In 2017, he received the RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award. He currently serves as an associate poetry editor for Fairy Tale Review, and lives in Ithaca, New York. Find Mikko on Twitter at @MikkoHarvey.
See the League’s 2019 Book Awards Shortlists here.