August 20, 1997

In the Blood Center at Brigham & Women's

Author Affiliations

Ithaca, NY

JAMA. 1997;278(7):530c. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550070009003

Everything turned inside-out bright vein climbing out of your wrist through the hole of the needle and into the machine, where platelets are skimmed out like cream. In the tube that leads back into you nothing changes, still the same terrifying red.

I am holding the cup as you drink, leaning over the chair with its Velcro straps. Your sister waits upstairs in the isolation chamber, her scalp prickly with new hair, her body overrun by its own defenses. You ask if I will take this as normal, if I remember lifting my mother's swollen hand, saying, / will give anything, not to be the one living, the one left behind.