I’m stuck again, not bleeding like a stuck pig but waiting
for results in the HMO waiting room, stuck
where praying is more counting than praying.

The mother puts her finger to her small lips, quieting her small boy.
Her small boy locks his lips with the invisible key, drops it to the floor.
Keep your eyes peeled, my mother once told me.

Bug-gut smeared on the leaves of Prevention, the crossword done.
Rolled up my sleeve and made a fist some time ago and soon blood
will have the last word. The whitewashed nurses becoming

the results, any minute, any minute. Not yet. Not for me.
I could pick up the invisible key from the floor. The
waiting room like an audition where hopeful actors go

but there’s not a part for everyone, in the future.
I could have a life, I could stop reading pulp crime.
I could adopt some kids and keep them from literature.

Goodnight, moon; goodnight, noises, noises everywhere.

I could worsen: the radio tells who’s done for,
weather comes on the ones. At home, I’ve got pounds of cure,

pounds of prevention. Civic-minded clod,
I’ve already willed my eyes, no, my
ears. I still know a beautiful word:

Luminol, for the chemical that makes blood glow.
All parts spare parts.
I could stop watching those crime shows.

Lady Macbeth knew what was permanent: evidence.
What a relief not to hear my own blood, surging inside.
Let it stay in, I pray to the Lady of Evidence.

But the shows strangle every channel, the radio
tells who’s done for. I’m safe and that means
someone’s not. My name comes, the nurses follow.

I could leave the results, not know.
In a tidy home somewhere smelling of bleach
the walls and floors begin to glow.

Michael Tyrell’s poems have appeared in many magazines, including Agni, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Yale Review. With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn.