There was a sad, sad time when I donated blood plasma twice a week so I could afford to put gas in my car. Now, I have enough money to buy an almost-new car, but I still have the scars on the inside of my elbows that give me the appearance of an addict, someone who needs to experience alternate realities in order to deal with this one; when really they were only taking out enough life-giving plasma to fill the tank of a 2001 Kia Sportage to the halfway mark.
Vaguely apocalyptic; all of the people reclining in chairs while machines pulsate softly and little tubes fill with, and empty of, blood. Swollen silicone bags collect milky white liquid, and people flip through magazines with one hand, while the other one flexes, little wrists bouncing, to encourage blood flow.
There’s a cold taste of copper on the inside of my lips, and I’m shivering because it’s hospital-cold.
So cold, cold, hospital-cold, cold like waiting in line outside the food bank for hours, because they always run out of bread and canned baked beans early, cold like the feeling of riding a bike home from work at one in the morning because the low-fuel light turned on yesterday, I won’t get paid till next week, and I have to wait three more days before I can donate plasma again.
I have to give my body time to recharge; to reload it’s arsenal of immunities against colds and flus. I’m hoping that someone will discover a cure for poverty soon; so that I don’t have to sit here and exhale while someone pierces my barely-healed veins with cold hollow rods; furrowing my body like so much soft soil, reaping crops with sickles I willingly let them cut me with.