Glucose Self-Monitoring

A stabbing in miniature, it is,
a tiny crime,
my own blood parceled
drop by drop and set
on the flickering tongue
of this machine.
It is the spout-punching of trees
for syrup new and smooth
and sweeter
than nature ever intended.
It is Sleeping Beauty’s curse
and fascination.
It is the dipstick measuring of oil
from the Buick’s throat,
the necessary maintenance.
It is every vampire movie ever made.
Hand, my martyr without lips,
my quiet cow.
I’ll milk your fingertips
for all they’re worth.
For what they’re worth.
Something like a harvest, it is,
a tiny crime.

– Katy Giebenhain


I like how the prosaic testing of blood sugar levels is compared sequentially to tapping tree sap, a fairy-tale, car maintenance, horror cinema and animal husbandry. All valid, these juxtapositions, and makes you look at this act of poking yourself in a new light because it’s made slightly unfamiliar again.

I know a number of diabetics, some of whom have to do precisely this. It’s a seemingly minor thing, this having to poke yourself, but it adds up over time. I remember having to do this for Physiology lab; I was quite blase about it initially, and happy about my nonchalance besides – who me, phobias? By the end of the year, though, I was tired of looking at my own corpuscles on slides and donating blood (not only to my lab partner but to an assortment of others besides, thanks to my bravado). At one point towards the end, I remember telling someone else to do the needle stick because I was tired of jabbing myself week after week.

I wasn’t able to get a lot of biographical information on the poet; instead here is an interview with Katy Giebenhain.

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