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Tag: @RonRiekki


The kid walks up to the fence.

He is bleeding from his leg

and arm and face and chest.

Imagine what looks like hoof-

prints of blood splattered all

over, almost comical; there’s no

need for that much blood.

I’m just off break. I’m union.

We get two breaks per shift.

I sleep in the back of my car.

It’s my time. I can do whatever

I want for those fifteen

minutes. My hair sticks up.

He says he needs help. I go

to dial 911 and he says, Ain’t

you 911? No, I’m not a cop,

I say, I’m an EMT. Doesn’t

that stand for medical some-

thing? I tell him I’m an EMT

for the factory. I can’t climb

over the fence. He says he’ll

climb over the fence. I tell him

no, that I have to call the cops

if he does that. I feel like an

idiot. He tries to climb but

he’s too cut up, too hurt. I

ask what happened. I see

a kid behind him, lying there.

What happened? I ask. Just

playin’ around. I’ve seen

patients with this much blood

before. We have workers

whose arms get caught in

the machinery. They get

degloved and eviscerated,

avulsions. I get them too.

A drunk employee punched

me in the cheek before,

the eye really, the cosmos

I see permanently if I close it.

I tell the kid that he’s gotta stay

on his side of the fence. I have

to stay on mine. He tells me

I’ll burn in hell. The factory

behind me pours smoke out

like it’s fighting to own the sky.

I ask where he’s bleeding

the most. He says he doesn’t

know. I say it again, angry.

He tells me his leg. I tell him

to put pressure on it, to not

take the pressure off. I tell him

to put it above his heart. He says

he can’t, it’s his leg. I tell him

to figure it out. How do you get

your leg above your heart? He lies

down. He holds his leg. The kid

in the background starts holding

his own arm. They’re controlling

the blood. I get down on the ground

and I look up at the sky too.

from Poetry Northwest 13.1 Summer & Fall 2018More by Ron Riekki from the library

Copyright © Ron Riekki
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.