Eliza Fixler

Patients

Something I can bring myself to care about,

aside from love, is Lisa telling me about

the HIV counselor, working with her

at intake, who couldn’t find a vein

because all of them are shot

and what it means that Randall plans

to spend the night in his backseat

for the 27th night, because, he says,

a rented roof is a searing chest

in exchange for empty pockets but

a warm glow in a cold car will help

him meet tomorrow, gracefully

and what can I tell Lisa when she pleads

with me, says doing this means breaking

free from the weighted, fleece awareness

only a syringe has known to dress her in

when the truth is, my heart rests only

for the beds of your fingers, and it takes

just one dinner alone for the velcro,

covering up the vacuum-factory

in my chest, to come screaming off.

I roll replayed hugs over my tongue

like honey cough drops, cough up

dust until you call

I keep a weighted blanket, too,

for when you don't come home

and so I can't begrudge her this

Randall’s a smart guy who knows

I haven’t spent a single night in my car,

and Lisa’s eyes are surveying my ripe

capillaries and across a desk we speak

about what it is to be a punch- balloon,

an overfull latex body on a rubber band

on the ham-handed fist of the universe,

knocked back against some same outer

effervescence, and a yawning, gasping

dead air in between.

 

Eliza is a social service worker, animal caretaker and emerging poet from St. Petersburg, FL. Her works tend to be introspective and relational, centering emotional and interpersonal concerns. Previous work has been published in Poetry Super Highway.

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