Blood Feathers

by Mikki Aronoff

Consider how they peel off your shoes, replace them with waterproof boots. How they place your hollow, cracking bones onto that cold, skinny table, your torso covered with a thin cotton gown open to the back.

Think about what brought you here. The blood feathers pimpling your armpits. The growl of your bowels. Your battle for balance. Your craving for worms.

Attend to the large circle of medical students, nurses, interns, residents staring at you, scribbling notes even though the test hasn’t yet begun. You count fifty eyes and stop.

Think about the attending physician, his breath hot on yours as he leans over your questions: Why so many? Have they nothing better to do? Do they expect the exam to yield textbook-worthy results? You pause, consider the knowledge they’ll carve from your deficits. You ask if they will write you up in the New England Journal of Medicine but hoard all the glory. 

Ponder his answer: It’s the room size. You have no idea what this means.

Think about the whirring down of machinery when the Fentanyl and Midazolam wear off. How no one hands you your boots, how no one tells you what, if anything, is wrong, not even a hint. The crescendo of snickers and shuffle of feet as the watchers march from the room in single file, the tallest in the front. 

Consider how no one answers your messages, no matter how many you send.

Wonder why your body is blotched with bruises purpling towards your heart.

As you tilt towards the toilet, pin feathers now rashing your skin, wonder if you will be prey. Wonder who will care for your dogs.

About the author

Mikki Aronoff, has work published in Flash Boulevard, New World Writing, MacQueen’s Quinterly, ThimbleLit, The Phare, The Ekphrastic Review, The Fortnightly Review, Milk Candy Review, Tiny Molecules, The Disappointed Housewife, Bending Genres, Gone Lawn, Mslexia, The Dribble Drabble Review, and elsewhere. Her stories and poems have received Pushcart, Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfiction nominations.

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by Christopher Adams