On My First Acquaintance with an Insulin Syringe, aet. 56, and Aripiprazole

by Michael Collings

On My First Acquaintance with an Insulin Syringe, aet. 56

and the needle quivers -- quarterinch,
eighth, sixteenth … breadth of a single thick
hair on fishbelly paleskin, skin pinched
vulnerable to the needleprick.

One muscletwitch to slide it tissuethin
between cell and cell, release milky
hormones from the islets of langerhans,
energize hot flesh’s bloody sulk … .

but it stops … one faint touch -- it mimics
not slimneedle but knifeblade severing
stolidflesh -- breath ceases -- nerves panic --
sinews resist frantic levering ….

When it is over, I breathe again.
No insulin this time … no biting pain.

[This poem first appeared in as “On First Acquaintance with an Insulin Syringe” in Som Certaine Sonets. Revised and enlarged edition. Borgo/Wildside. 6 February 2011. 53.]


Words grow hauntingly,
Roll half-tauntingly from the mind
Where once, not long ago,
Image poured and metaphor
Fused meaning with high passion --
And also darkled shadows, fear, and dread.

Instead of rocket highs and
Depth-plumbed lows,
Widely barren plains, unbroken now
By crest or depth, unfurrowed in the
Lassitude of listlessness,
Numbed and dumbed and stilled.

To walk is easier thus.
Each step-by-step level and unruffled.
Horizons no longer loom. Twilights
Linger until the moon herself sleeps settled.
And dawn creeps slowly on until she
Merges unbeknownst with noon.
And thus it is. And is. And is.

And whether that is good,
I do not know.

[“Aripiprazole” first appeared in BlueRose at Ygdrasil: A Journal of the Poetic Arts. 20 October 2010. Online at: http://www.synapse.net/kgerken/Y-1010.HTM.]