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Surgery

1. Before
Maybe when I took the rattlesnake juice that was supposed to make me giggle
I f l e w,
like I was on an airplane or maybe a jet,
looking

down

at a greener grass and a bluer sky and a brighter sun

and I thought about all the kids in the hospital beds nearby
dying of cancer or holes in their heart or something like that
but I’m not one of them.

and Mom said she cried even though I’ve never seen her cry
and I don’t know about Dad but I know that he was pacing in the waiting room
after I took it.
The nurse asked,
“What flavor do you want?” She listed them off like she had done it so many times before.
I said spearmint.
I blacked out after that.


2. After
Men in smocks chatter above me.

Have hours passed? Days?
One moment, she was asking me the flavor of the anesthesia and now I’m waking up from surgery.
It wasn’t even like sleep; it was a nothingness, a death, black and numb.

I open my eyes.

“Where’s my mom?” I ask. She was supposed to be what I woke up to.
“She’s coming.”
I squirm.
The lights are so bright in the hallway.
I look around.
No one’s there. No one at all so
I can’t breathe.
“I want my mom! Where’s my mom?”
“We should have given her a little more anesthesia.”
MommyMommyMommyMommyDaddy?
I squirm. I can’t move my legs. It hurts. Body cast?
Someone cries. It’s me.
They get my mom. My dad too.

3. The Room
i’m in a bed
staring at the wall.
i don’t need a body cast. i drank so much milk as a kid that my bones are strong.
i have a roommate.
“You need to eat.”
i can’t. When i do, i throw up. i throw up six times that night.
Mom and Dad are at my bedside, but Dad has to go.
i’m supposed to get up and out of bed. Give it a try.
Hands go under my armpits and on my arms-
i stumble.

My feet touch the floor for the first time in what feels like eons
and walking
but i am a newborn foal.

i will bump up, bump down, putter with a walker
for now and months from now

at least, i’m not dying. at least, i’m not fighting for my life.



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