an old poem, revised

The universal donor develops a taste for blood

What if
I closed my eyes right now, accelerated hard
Just waited for the impact, the pain,
the wailing sirens
“She lost control on the Norwood Lateral,” they’d say.
“Nearly bled to death.”

Or what if
I lost control, of myself,
In produce between the melons and the salad bar,
when that lady in tight capris slaps her sobbing toddler
“She BIT that woman at Kroger’s,” they’d say.
“She drew blood!”

And what if
I developed a taste for blood, began to crave more
To seek angry people, timid children, laughing babies
Napes exposed, tender, pink with longing, with pain, with joy
“Is she all right?” they’d wonder,
then cross the street to avoid me.

And what if
I ran away, left life and laundry piled up behind?
If I loitered in all-night diners
sipping bitter black coffee, eavesdropping
“What’s with the notebook,” the waitresses would whisper.
“She writes all night long. Weird.”

And what if
I drank in what I needed, instead of giving it all away?
If I grew fat and full and flush
cut my heart open and let it all spill warm, red and alive
onto blue-lined paper
into stories pulsing with life?

2006/rev2014

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