apothecary

oh, medicine man. oh, dream healer. have your shelves

emptied as the months grow longer still? when the body

is built to bear warmth, what have you given to temper

this winter? i imagine you mumbling the prescriptions

as you shake each spot empty, lip curling as air

replaces salve. these are the treatments: egg scramble.

clean linen. brownie batter. sun coated in baby

oil, the kind in the pink bottle that breaks easily.

two-step in the parking lot across the street. dinosaur

nuggets, the head chewed off. the sight of marigolds and

the ghosts they nourish. a fish smoking in the

afternoon, dinner just a breath and a pulse away. a

bumblebee nursed back to life with a puddle of sugarwater.


such is everyday: emergency

and rebirth. dreams

falling into voids.

ventilators hooked to

prayers. guilty tears shed

neatly under the showerhead.

the twitter bird still the best alibi

for laughter. birthdays in tandem with

funerals. candles to be blown out

and to be lit. pixel across

pixel beyond

pixel. the apothecary smiles,

and i ask him once more:

what can you give me to numb the cold?


but before he replies, i already

see the answer hanging heavy in the

gunmetal scale. a pound of

my own blood.


when your chest is a cavity,

beset with loneliness, i promise:


nothing soothes more than the ricochet of heartbeat.

Max Zhang is the editor-in-chief of the Indy and a sophomore studying Business and Global Affairs with a minor in English.