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COUNTING THE MARKS by Rebecca Cavanagh

Tap, tap, tap.

Two fingers tap the back of my hands

run their fingers down the blue spindly lines

which barely count as veins.

Usually the phlebotomist struggles but

finding x on a beach of dodgy veins

was easy

The needle goes in.

Punctures my skin

leaving a tiny hole

another mark of countless tests

examinations and cannulas for operations

I watch the mark get covered by the plaster

feel bereft my badge of honour is hidden.

I push outside the hospital

waiting room.

Blood test room B and nurse Sandra

all left behind for another year

I look at the plaster on my hand

want to show my scar to the world

add it to the countless list of stretch marks

open wounds, stomas and stitches

I tear off the plaster

the purple-brown bruise appears yellow in the light

there’s another mark to count.


Rebecca Cavanagh is a wheelchair user and has recently graduated from university with a degree in Creative Writing. When she isn’t writing for her own website or teaching sports to students at her old secondary school, she can be found drawing or rolling around her house listening to music.

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