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.

apothecary