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He looks over the top of his glasses and asks,

(in a Russian accent) do I have any

“pre-existing conditions? You know...

a sickness or medical condition, for which

you exhibited symptoms, or for which

treatment has been received or taken,

and/or which existed prior to the effective

date of coverage, whether or not that

condition had been diagnosed by a physician...”

Half way through the insurance screed

I remember the summer of my double hernia.

I was ten, drowning in that hospital smell,

when my father’ visited. The popsicle he brought

was unconditional love. The Russian’s eyes glaze,

his pen hovers over the page. I wonder,

Who will remember the popsicle when I’m gone?

Who will audit the stitches and medications?

What will happen to the medical history that

shows a tendency toward aortic aneurysm--

the condition that finally killed my old man?

Before I answer, he jabs the needle into my arm.

“You have ripe veins,” he says dryly,

a flicker of humourbriefly flashed across his face.

The extracted blood hits the glass tube,

months spill into the ether. Genome awaits.

He taps the tube with a bony finger. Distracted,

his smile fades. “Yes, very good veins.”