The body loses glamour on tabletop, arms
splayed like a leafless tree, sleeves
pushed aside to naked flesh. There is no chance
of the doctor and patient fucking. He has seen
too soon the way she shudders at pain, he can
imagine how she looks during joy
and it makes the needle almost like      he pushes
the thought from his head, concentrates on puckering
redness, squeezing it purple. Small talk
is no use. When people die, he thinks, what can
we say? Nothing matters then; nothing except
the speed of blood and finding a way to cup the spill. 



Denise K. James is a writer living in Charleston, SC. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Illuminations Literary Magazine, Auntie Bellum, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and other publications.