Marc Swan, 11/18/2013

Current Occupation: Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Former Occupation: Free-lance writer

Contact Information: Marc Swan lives in Portland, Maine, a working seaport with a thriving arts community. He has new work coming out in Slipstream, Common Ground, Pearl and Owen Wister Review, WORK Literary Magazine, among others. Simple Distraction, a collection of his poems from 1989 to 2009, was published in fall 2009 by tall-lighthouse in London, England.



Missing Bullets


There’s a blizzard on the outside and I’m

on the inside in a small well-lighted cubicle

talking to a sixty-three year old man with two

Master’s degrees 1500 miles away.  He tells

me about work, his job on a line packaging

IV bags. Standing beside a conveyor, five

feet high, he lifts and hangs one IV bag after

another, after another, after another, forty six

bags every minute for thirty minutes and then

he moves to the end of the line and inspects

this product for thirty minutes, then he runs,

literally, into the warehouse, back to the line

with containers filled with IV bags to be placed

onto hooks he calls bullets one after the other,

after the other, after the other, forty six

bags every minute. This is in a sterile work

place he tells me then he talks about the incident,

the shift when he couldn’t keep up with the one

after another IV bags to bullets activity. He tried

and he tried and his anxiety peaked. He couldn’t

breathe, couldn’t inspire or expire regularly. He

moved away from the line into a quiet space

and took a nitroglycerine capsule and waited

and he still couldn’t inspire or expire regularly,

so he took another and when that didn’t work

he went to the nurse and then by ambulance

to the hospital. He laughs, There I was trying

to breathe in my bunny suit watching the bags

fall one after another, after another, after another

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