Message For The Phlebotomist

(who could see the pins on my bag):

Making conversation 

about the weather, and the lawn 
that needs mowing? 
And giving me an 
abbreviated 30 year work history 
for a compliment on your technique? 
Okay… sure? 
But parlaying that 
to complain about the people you train, 
who work – then quit 
because ‘they can make more money 
staying at home’; blaming 
“the damn government” 
leaves me wondering 
if you’re as much ableist as sadist. 
You said all this 
in full view of the liberal values that I carry 
on my shoulder, that I set on the bench 
next to me. You said this 
to provoke, to prod 
deeper than the needle slid 
into my arm. I’d like 
to say it was composure 
and not a moment of shock 
that stilled my tongue. Instead, on leaving 
I managed a “good luck with your lawn”.