Effusion

Vincent Castiglia paints with his own blood.

Before you decide this is revolting,

you might want to try it yourself.

Don’t go to the extreme though:

Take Marc Quinn, who made a series

of sculptures of his head

with nine pints of his blood.

One’s on display in a mini-fridge

at the National Portrait Gallery.

When he dies he wants one made

with every drop he has left.

First, you should recollect a wound.

Begin with a cut or vessel that happens to burst.

Let it puddle into spoons. Try to work

it quickly before it coagulates.

Sometimes you will feel

like hemorrhaging this rich pigment

right on to your paper—

pouring yourself into the muscle and skin

of the lines— splattering your plasma

through the stanzas.

For a larger work collect your words

intravenously into vials and store

them for later use. It is much cleaner

this way—and you won’t forget

what you have drawn.

You’d be surprised how much you can take.

Before you opt to open your veins though,

Consider the following:

  1. Don’t expect to come any closer to what still flows inside of you.

       2. You can’t resurrect bruises that have already bloomed.

       3. This is not a sacrifice.

       4. This is not a transfusion.

       5. Everyone is a vampire.

       6. Realize that no matter how you slice it,

there is only ever one ending.


Victoria Nordlund is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. Her chapbook Binge Watching Winter on Mute will be published in June 2019 by Main Street Rag. She is a 2018 Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee, whose work has appeared in PANK Magazine, Gone Lawn, Maudlin House, and other journals.

You can read more of her work at https://www.victorianordlund.com/poetry

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