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January 2016 vol 11 no 4

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Caroline Masters


You call me late the night before. “How’s the job?” I ask. “Fine . . . but I’d rather be home.” We don’t talk about nerves but there’s a tight band in my chest. “Drive carefully tomorrow.” The pink bodies of moths tap against the glass. I wake suddenly in the empty room, the worry of morning ringing in my ears.

no moon
the dry roll of a leaf
mistaken for a footstep

We meet in the carpark. Both late. Skipping steps in the antiseptic stairwell. Through the heavy swinging doors, the signs on infection control, two hand sanitizer pumps. Breathlessly adjusting ourselves before entering the warm day-room. More like an airport. Not what I imagined. She’s waiting in the corner, concern gathering around her like a nervous fog. You settle into the soft chair with a too-wide smile. All around us the nurses struggle with reluctant veins. The machines chime as the bags empty.