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Ardkeen Regional Hospital, Waterford, Ireland

Inside the trail armed with pain killers
the needle glistens and gleams.
A nurse cleans my thigh
over, with little smooth wet cotton
streamlined like feathers.

"Relax" she tells me.
Her hands are the soft flesh
of cold yellow watermelon
you sink your teeth
in a dribble of pleasure.

I don't like injections
recalling when I was ten,
sick of malaria, a nurse
injected me through my bottom, stiffened
it out for two weeks.

“Be a man!”
But I have heard this before,
ladies choicest in Nigeria to inflame men to yield
to risky task, excite them
with possibilities of an ego-caress.

Not in this sense.
Then something resembling a blend
of laughter and smile
slides over what had once been her face and mine.
Now she whispers her gentleness, whispering

sweet like a bird that sings
with so much heart, as she slips the shining needle
into my skin, in, in, like not bitting,
or ten minute sleep
under the deep elms shade of Glencar Waterfall.





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