I just stood up from the table abruptly
after reading some Billy Collins with Bubba,
and the upward/forward motion of my torso
caused me to cough violently. I don’t know why.
Ten seconds or so of the kind of cough that
warms the forehead as you feel blood running
to your face and pressure building between
that forehead and the top of your cranium.
Along with this bizarre sensation came a memory
of Meg from my days at Catholic elementary school.
Meg, an Irish girl, whose cheeks were flushed
with bright crimson sparks of facial fireworks.
She said that these were actually blood vessels
broken by… actually I forget her explanation,
but it made sense to my 10 year old self
who would’ve killed to have some of my own.
For, as I met more Irish people—and descendants
of Irish people—I realized that these cheeks
were more of a defining trait than anything my
Gerwelshwedeslavscotswinglish roots gave me. Continue reading

keep bleeding / keep, keep, bleeding

“So you’re a student, right?” said the elderly woman as she jabbed a needle into my arm.
“Uh… yeah,” I said.
“I remembered that!” she said as I thought When have I ever spoken to this woman?
She continued, “What are you studying?”
I braced myself and replied, “Music and English Literature.”
“Mmmmmhm.”  She bit her lip and nodded her head slightly.  “I remember you.  I’m bad with names but I remember you.  You’ve been working somewhere this summer, right?”

Prior to today, I hadn’t given blood in a year.  And when I did, it wasn’t at the American Legion Post, where this lady was trying to convince me that she knew me at least on a hairdresser basis.  So unless she had recently run into me somewhere, asked me about my life and then hit me over the head with a hammer, she had to have been guessing.  What other things did she magically come to know about me?  Would she ask about my sister’s dancing?  Would she ask how the puppies are doing?  Did she know about the incident with the medical research donation letters?

“Yeah, I’ve been interning with a refugee resettlement agency.”
Continue reading