1999 Portland, Oregon
They told me I couldn’t go to the Plasma Center for at least four months after the veins collapsed in both my arms. I’m telling you, that needle is big and hollow, the young nurse chewing her juicy fruit while she tries two and three times to hit the vein. Cassandra come over here we got a problem. My bag wasn’t filling up this time, the artery had collapsed from her missed hits, so I was sent away in shame with empty pockets. No more would I pass the posters of the happy children in the hemophiliac summer camp, boating and fishing at Mary’s Lake. No more would I roll down my sleeves to cover the bandages, take my thirty euros at the window and get Bushmill’s with beer backs next door at The Starting Point until I went blind. How else was I gonna get the money to drink if I could no longer give my blood?