In the mirror I see today’s false scar,
six inches of dry blood streaked,
message left by the burst artery
that brought terror to my waking.

O mortality, o mouthfuls of blood,
little nosebleed that wouldn’t end,
I dressed in blood, washed my face
in water mixed with life’s blood.

And prayed, not now, Lord, not today,
drove weaving for help in the early light,
stopped only to empty my mouth
to make room for still more blood.

They burned the artery shut.
Now I regard dried blood, track
streaked exactly where they’d
crack the chest to reach the heart.

As they would have done my father,
had they known his heart was failing.
So that’s what it is: this fear, this
trembling at my life’s own blood.

Now it’s hot, my plants need water.
I carry mortal water to care for them:
pinks, whites, blues, the herbs
the rabbits seem to have a taste for.

Here is living water; drink. I pour
and then they drink, this small act
blessing this day, this light, this heat.

Copyright © 2021 Vasily Ingogly. All Rights Reserved.

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