Stopping the Blood


I cut my finger with a knife
while slicing carrots. I was
alone in the house. I wasn’t
sure how to stop the bleeding.
So I stuck my finger in my mouth.
I figured if I bled for a long time
it wouldn’t matter, because my blood
was returning to my body. I felt
like a vampire, even though I
was sucking my own blood.

I wasn’t sure whether it was God
or the pressure of my tongue
that stopped the bleeding. If
it was my tongue I could thank it
by feeding it ice cream. But if
it was God I had to go to temple more
and pray all the time. I decided
it was my tongue. If God wanted me
to be more religious, then He had
to give me a clearer sign.

Previously published in Mudfish Magazine.

Hal Sirowitz is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York, serving from 2000 to 2003. He’s featured in The Hollins Critic.

Object(s) to bring back to life: “I want the rotary phone back. I was the last one in my apartment building to change to the new touch-tone phone. At least, if someone wanted to talk to you, he had to make an effort to dial. Now the phone dials by itself if you push the right button. I miss rock candy but decades later, plus a few cavities, my teeth don’t. I miss the laughing gas the dentist used to give, not that it made me laugh, but because it was a great name.”