Weekly Poem: 'Intravenous'
By Hugh Martin
A rope of black smoke above the city. Police sirens. The feetof the crowd over pavement.We don't know who she is: barelya year alive, her blue leggings wet, stuck to the skin with her own blood. Doc Johnson holds her headlike an orange in his open hand. He kneelsbeside the white Opel while Kenson aimsthe mounted light from his M4through the shattered window to her face,the glass spread around herlike rock salt on the brownseat cushions. Doc scissors her cotton sleeve,pushes his thumb to her arm for a vein--nothing...He finds one, eye to hairline, pulsingwith her screams; he wipes the skinwith antiseptic, and with one hand,steadies her head as an Imam's voiceblankets the night in waves; cars filledwith wounded weave around us with the dust. Doc lowers the needle to this girl's blue vein,and it touches her skin like prickingthe Tigris on a smooth map of the earth.
Hugh Martin recently won the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award from The Iowa Review for his poetry. His upcoming book, "The Stick Soldiers," received the A. Poulin Jr. First Book Prize from BOA Editions. Hugh served in the U.S. Army in Iraq for 11 months. After returning, he obtained an MFA from Arizona State. Currently, he is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. "The Stick Soldiers" will be published in March 2013.