I’m here to pick up a pre‑
scription already written
into my future from history
you could say I did this to
myself but I was fed and I was
fed and not just food or barely
food you have to pay what
things cost and one organ leads
to another a failure to grasp
the path from action to con-
sequence is written into it
like needling a name into
the skin like the boys did
when smoking took him young
but old enough to be tired
of it or the needles in the skin
days in and out I stayed
in the waiting room and some-
thing happened there I can’t
forget or it might have been
we all pivoted to virtual heads
turned when the practitioner
stuck her head out and called
a name that was already gone

Carolyn Guinzio’s most recent collection is A Vertigo Book (The Word Works, 2021), winner of The Tenth Gate Prize and the Foreword Indies Award for Poetry Book of the Year. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry and many other journals. Her website is carolynguinzio.tumblr.com. Originally from Chicago, she lives in Fayetteville, AR.