September 24, 2021

The Necessity of Lancing

by Greg Huteson

Lance the boil on your calf.
If it’s necessary, pinch it 
as you grit your teeth and gasp
while staring at the shuddering wall.

Have a cotton kerchief handy
to absorb the pus and swab
the cinctured wound, the wet
that courses down your luckless leg.

Have the kerchief ready also
for other lumps and waters, on jaunts
and travels and long, stiff nights
beside certain beds and at all wakes.

On occasion, carry the lancet with you,
but not to church or funeral homes.
An ice pick will do, with a plastic lighter
to sterilize the steel. The intention:

Not to wound or threaten harm
or nick God’s enduring furcate image,
but to relieve taut skin or unclog jams
in thin brass pipes in a stranger’s home.

Hobble to the bathroom or the sink
in the kitchen island. Poke or jab
and poke or jab again and, as you lance
the boil on your calf, let the waters flow.

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