I Don’t Like Needles

By Caroline Lodge

PROMPT—During Covid-19 ...

I don’t like needles!


They tell me this

with an anxious look

and I smile

reassuringly—

No one does.


Australia.

As winter nears,

we prepare for flu season

during the global pandemic.

I am a Nurse.


As we lock down,

isolate and retreat,

the annual flu shot

becomes something.

A defense. An outing.


The first time I’ve left home in weeks!

My heart contracts as I realize

the painful truth in this

remark.

And so I expand time, just a little.


Time to share stories of

how life has changed

in the blink of an eye,

in the flash of a needle.

We focus on what we can do.


We laugh behind our masks

and reach out with our

sanitized hands.

Warmth and humor

infectious.


And then they are gone

and I wipe every surface.

The chair, the table, the pen,

all cleaned ready for the next soul.

The next story.


They trust me to keep them safe,

as far as possible,

when everything

we touch and breathe upon

is a potential threat to life.


No material trace remains,

but their essence,

our connection,

lingers in the air

all day.

Caroline Lodge has been quietly writing poetry since landing in Australia two years ago. She is a Registered Nurse and her poems are inspired by her own ‘small noticings’ on life.


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