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Phlebotomist

Dianne Silvestri ~

The corridors seethe with nocturnal predators,
their voices low.

My door latch coughs, a figure hisses,
I’ve come to draw blood,

wrenches my arm like a lamb shank,
rasps it with alcohol, plunges her spike,

pops one after another color-coded
rubber-stoppered vial into the sheath,

unplugs each loaded one to add
to the crimson log pile weighting my thigh,

steals more, it seems, than ample sample
of the provisional liquor of my life.

About the poet:

Dianne Silvestri worked as an academic dermatologist while raising her four children. Her medical practice was abruptly interrupted when she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. “Chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant have allowed me to engraft my poetry avocation as an encore career.” Author of the chapbook Necessary Sentiments, she has had poems published in various journals, including The Healing Muse [1], American Journal of Nursing, The Worcester Review [2], Poetry South [3], The Main Street Rag, The Examined Life Journal [4] and Families, Systems & Health.

About the poem:

“This poem grew out of the first forty-day hospital stay of my life-changing illness.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer