How to Stop the Bleeding

Graham Barnhart

A tourniquet will work
         unless it doesn’t.

They don’t
         tell you what to do then

if the artery is torn
        behind the soft pocket

of an armpit, or thigh
       where it meets the pelvis,

where the external
         iliac becomes the femoral.  

In that cased pack
      with gauze the spaces

that could hold gallons
     if we had gallons.

Press a small wadding
      against the vessel. 

One–for–one exchange:
       your fingers with gauze,

your fingers
          with gauze—

               To simulate: take a fistful of sand,
walk into the ocean.

               Tighten your fist. The sand
will run out.