Doing No Harm

Rachel Castro

In the 5 p.m. dark, we sit in the car waiting

to meet a stranger in Logan Square


about their bed frame. We listen to a message

from a friend in medical school: her effusive voice


describing how she could feel the broken ribs

of a man underneath her grip as she performed


CPR for the first time. It sounds

like he was already dead. She performed CPR


on a corpse? you ask, but I’m certain

she left out the part where she saved his life,


and so I ask her. In the evening our mattress,

still on the floor. I stand at our new kitchen counter


prying open a pomegranate in a white, cotton

shirt, red juice pooling on my chin. Raising


my right arm and then my left, you pull the shirt

from my back. I carry on gnawing at the seeds


eating them bare-chested with the dog

at my feet. The wind in the new city sounds at night

like a child screaming and the dog wakes us

by arguing with it. I can hear you


in the bathroom on the other side of the wall, hunched

over the corroded sink, blotting the stain


out of my shirt with dish soap. When my friend

responds that, yes, the man was likely already dead


when he flew in on the gurney after jumping

from a bridge, I keep it from you.


Headshot | Rachel Castro


RACHEL CASTRO is a writer from Virginia and holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation, Ox-Bow School of Art, and the Loft Literary Center, among others, and appears in Poetry Northwest. Rachel lives in Chicago and is a student in the MA Program in Social Work, Social Policy, and Social Administration at the University of Chicago.