At the end of the privacy of my body
techs infuse my autonomic function
with intention and vitality.
My veins lie in their bed
but I want to declare my readiness
to be broken into. They say my veins
jump and flip, they say my veins roll
and hide: but to see my body stand against
one who has come to help is another failure.
The tech gets out the twenty-three-gauge needle
and whatever snaps shut in the tight space
of the intake station: more people
are ill than the architects had imagined.
Stuck several times on the right and left
I do “breathing with purpose,” I think
about the centrifuge to come: my plasma, my
vacancy, as the phlebotomist reads through
the camouflage of stippled fields
on the backs of my hands, then gives each
tube a gentle shake. My brother waits
for a new kidney, so I must say who
on the registry I will not save, when I’d rather
be as forgotten as the black woman
in scrubs, leaving the room, her turn
as a body without me, whose name
I can’t remember now, despite the familiar
tenderness at the touch of an unseen hand.