Ode to Lithium #33: Needle

Shira Erlichman

“3,        2,        1”
exact     as a bully
my dark syrup       filling 1 vial,        2.

I watch
the slow reddening, rendering            of human sap
it’s a monthly ritual      to allow a stranger
to collect what is inside me    for assessment:
a shadow of poison?
or clear skies

Here sits a woman
partitioned into numbers
which swell     truthfully, kindly
tiny comprehensions of vastness
charted by a professional

even as the nurse counts down,           casts
the needle’s fishing line,                      pulls
dawn into delicate vials                       I know

what the sea knows
with the bottom of its mind