Pat Tompkins

At the Blood Bank 

 Clench, pierce, pump:
out flows a hot, dark pint.
Before I make a deposit,
the nurse checks pressure, heat, iron,
questions drugs, sex, travel.
How little a no or yes tells.

A plastic vein transfers saturated memory,
richer than my medical history:
remembrance of every song the Beatles sang
craving for ice cream and chocolate bittersweet
preference for Graham Greene and Edgar Allan Poe
delight in snapdragons and swimming
abhorrence of foie gras and caviar
fondness for spaniels and basset hounds
experience with Iowa winters and West Coast earthquakes

Every few months, I gain unknown relatives
eating dessert, petting dogs, singing of love, looking for clues.
Mingling talismans, blood sisters/brothers,
somewhere out there, my secret sharers.

[Flashquake, 2007]

Pat Tompkins is an editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poems have appeared in a wide range of publications, including the A3 Review, Haibun Today, and A Hundred Gourds.

She writes, “Poetry matters because language matters. As with many words, the origin (a poet was a maker in Greek) informs the meaning.”