fingernails

the nurse looked at
my face.
“are you a seaman?”
she asked.
“no,” I said.
“then this didn’t
happen on the job?”
“no,” I said, “I don’t
work.”
“how did this happen
to you?” the
nurse asked.
“a woman,” I explained,
fingernails…”
“oh,” she laughed,
“well, fill out these
papers, the doctor will
see you soon…”

there were a long list
of questions like:
have you ever been in a
mental institution?
have you had v.d.?
do you hate your
parents?
do you consider authority
necessary?
do you sleep on your
back?
do you dislike sex?
what is your favorite
color?
how many times a month
do you masturbate?
if you had a chance,
would you take
it?

I felt that the nurse
had possibly given me
the wrong paper.

there were a dozen other
questions of
similar nature.

to all the questions
I answered,
I don’t know.

the doctor came in,
glanced at the sheet,
put it down.

“you say a woman did
this?”

“yes.”

“did she bite you?”

“no.”

“what do you want?”

“a tetanus shot…”

“whenja have your last
one?”

“I don’t know…”

the doctor grabbed my
face, started
squeezing it.

some of the scabs
broke.
I began
bleeding.

“how does that feel?”
he asked.

“peachy-keen,” I told
him.

“o.k.,” he said, “the
nurse will give you your
shot…”

he began to walk out of
the room
then stopped and
turned, “by the way,
this woman, why did she
do this to you?”

“I don’t know…”

the Dr. left
as the blood dripped down
onto my shirt
collar.

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