On the overbed table: a pile of ketchup
packets, a baker’s dozen of straws
brought with each new Styrofoam cup
of ice water or juice or sprite, cannulas still coiled,
open pouch of syringes, cyan stressball,
alcohol wipes in foil houses. The nurse’s hair
shimmies like late October leaves. Practice.
Hold the syringe like this, she instructs,
pinching one of them between first knuckle
and thumb flesh. In her other hand, the ball.
Me and Mom mime her squeezing blue foam fat.
This is your stomach, she tells us what we see
on TV is wrong–not to ready thumb on plunger,
use our index finger. No sensationalism. No dramatic flair.
After, a dewdrop of insulin leaks from the hollow.
Plastic clicks on walnut laminate.
Kristin Entler was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 6 months old, and first came out as LGBT+ several years after her diabetes diagnosis at 12 years old. She currently serves as Poetry Editor for NELLE and lives with her service-dog-in-training, Azzie, whose name is short for the Greek God of Medicine. Entler can be found in publications such as The Bitter Southerner, Hobart, Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, and Poet Lore among others, as well as on twitter @findmycure.