It was our ritual
every Monday at 2.
She would start by asking
How have you been feeling?
Pretty good, I'd say. You?
while sitting in the chair.
Same old same old, she'd smile
while rolling up my sleeve.
Next, the rhythmic cleansing
with rubbing alcohol
followed by the tying
of the blue tourniquet
then her donning of gloves
that matched her purple scrubs
and the incantation
Little poke—and the poke.
Each week it was the same
until my last treatment
when from the used needle
on the way to the bin
a single drop of blood
onto the spotless tile
a heartfelt libation
for those not so lucky.

The publication costs of this article were defrayed in part by page charge payment. Therefore, and solely to indicate this fact, this article is hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 USC section 1734.

Correspondence: Adam Possner, George Washington University, General Internal Medicine, Medical Faculty Associates, 2150 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 2-105 South, Washington, DC 20037; e-mail:

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