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. 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.