By Michael Diamond

A violent argument, a finger caught in a slammed screen door. The sight of blood vaporizes the ghost that drives the conflict. The injured party runs to dress her wound.

Odysseus, trapped on the enchantress’ island, seeks direction in the blood of oxen. So hungry are the ghosts called up that he must beat them away with his sword.

The delicate cutter scarifies her arm with an X-acto knife. Each rubied line draws her further into trance and away from unbearable pain.

The matador’s trance, one with the beast that dances before his eyes. Flesh pricked by the picadors, one will collapse in blood-soaked dust when the trance is broken.

Another cutter stares dead-eyed at her unowned body, blade drawn to puncture Psyche’s armor. The world seeps back through blood and pain.

The belled priest splashes blood on the altar’s horns, initiated into his cult with blood dabbed to ear, toe and thumb that he might heed the call and move to do its bidding.

The physician sits amidst charts and paraphernalia. He tends the thirsty spirits, scribes blood lines and dances a sanguine pas de deux, witness to everyman’s mortality.

About the author

Michael Diamond, MD received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1987. He practices general psychiatry in Chevy Chase, Maryland.