Friday, April 8, 2022

The Cost of Staying Alive by F.I. Goldhaber

Ten times a day
I prick a finger,
squeeze out a drop of blood
and wait for the number that
will determine what I do next.

Must I pierce my
skin again, this time
using needles that screw
onto pens I then use to
inject units of insulin?

Or do I need
to eat, even if
I do not hunger and
have no interest in food
of any kind at the moment?

The meter rules
my life, decides what,
when, and whether I eat
while I fight for insurance
coverage to pay for the strips

required to make
it work, strips that cost
as much as a dollar
apiece, ten bucks a day, more
than three thousand greenbacks yearly.

When combined with
fifty cents for each
needle, sixty bucks for
two days' insulin supply,
that's a high price to stay alive.


F.I. Goldhaber's words capture people, places, and politics with a photographer's eye and a poet's soul. As a reporter, editor, and business writer, they produced articles, features, editorials, and reviews for newspapers, corporations, governments, and non-profits. Now paper, electronic, plastic, and audio magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, broadsides, and street signs display their poetry, fiction, and essays. More than 230 of their poems appear in almost 80 publications. Left Fork press will publish their fifth book of poetry, What Color is Your Privilege?, in September.

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