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Thursday, March 16, 2017


by Jill Crainshaw

Daily Signe Cartoon 03/14/17

The old hymn from my childhood pounds out
a heat-beating rhythm in my head.
“There is power, power,
wonder-working power
in the blood,”
while plasma charts a course
through octogenarian veins,
a crimson thread
marking a jagged line
between life and death.

“Here you go, honey,”
the Starbucks barista said
and her eyes smiled
while her mouth hid
behind one of those disposable face masks
medical center workers were wearing
that windy winter day.
I smiled back, took the potent elixir,
and drank,
as the dark roasted incense swirled.

Battle lines are drawn,
expiration date unknown but certain
as soon as womb-water breaks
onto unmapped territory.
“It could go either way,”
the hospitalist said.
“But it’s all covered.”
I Googled “hospitalist”
and waited
for a lingering red pearl to let go.

Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and a Presbyterian minister. Her work has appeared in Star 82 Review, Mused: Bella Online Literary Review, and Panoplyzine. She is a frequent contributor to the Unfundamentalist Christians blog.