Blood Test, 7:00 a.m.
Rising from the warmth of a duvet to face a blood test,
before morning’s first coffee can pass your lips,
or the least morsel of food can boost your world,
before the show-off sun shakes up the eastern sky,
is not recommended for rational mortals. But here I am,
early morning, queued up outside the still-locked clinic,
with a motley of coffee-deprived grumps outside the door,
waiting for the lock to unbolt, opening the dam to a flood
of fasters, whose only non-violent thoughts are to get
inside, quick-bleed the demanded vials, then bolt back
home to an aromatic welcome of fresh-brewed coffee,
earthy toast, a favored cup, waiting with the daily paper.
Halo in the Casino
The Vegas slot machine generously generated
a fifty-dollar return on my twenty-dollar investment
in the ongoing welfare of the state of Nevada,
not to mention the unseen owners of this smoke-infested
emporium of electronic din. I pushed CASH, figuring
I’d recoup my original twenty, then play a bit longer,
courtesy of the casino’s largesse. When the machine
dutifully dealt my cash voucher, I tucked it away
for safe-keeping into my shirt pocket to redeem later.
I continued playing. A short time later, my wife
inquired from the adjacent machine, “Did you notice
that drunk young guy? The one who staggered against
our chairs?” But I hadn’t seen the guy at all – rapt
in the distracting cacophony and ceaseless movement
of the human zoo surrounding us. Hordes of them,
moving, sitting, standing wherever they could.
I would have gone right back to spinning reels,
except that’s the precise moment I noticed
my empty shirt pocket. I stared. I looked down
at my feet, scoured the floor around our machines.
I ‘d had a flashing neon bozo-halo over my head,
a red arrow pointing to my shirt pocket. Picked
and plucked. By a drunk who wasn’t. Feel free,
dear reader, to write and add your own moral here.
Glen Sorestad is a much published and translated Canadian poet who lives in Saskatoon. His poems travel more widely and more often than he does.