Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blue Ink in the Margins

In the P.I.C.U. the surgeons raise their rifles
In the galley before me
Measurements and Calculations in military precision
2 cm incision above the 4th rib
9 cm needle
500 c.c.’s of drained pus / 10 days under observation
50/50 chance they will cut my daughter’s chest open with a saw
Mortality rate clicking back like the hammer of a trigger
No margin for error
She is seven and a half winters old
The surgeons are talking and I quake in fear
At the end of this long night’s rifle barrel.
The X-ray is glowing and I strain to see
Rib cage clouds hover
Silver cross along the picket fence of ribs
Hair barrette in a pocket, Tinker Toy spine
Slip N Slide yellow tube snaking through her chest
This is the lung covered in gravy shade. I don’t see it.
This is the heart smothered in black smoke. Where?
This is the infected area. Please stop.
But it is too late.
These are the signs that seal my daughter’s fate.
In the hallway the white coats whisper and I stand aside.
There is the baby with the brain surgery
And the other with enlarged heart
The fathers stand rigid, stunned
In the metronome stillness between the living and the already dead.
The elevator opens on cue
A woman in rolling bed passes
Her body covered in the splatter of blood
As if a pail of red paint was dropped from a tall perch
Rolling her toward the white coats
Who pretend they don’t see me
Pretending we are not all too terrified to also fall uselessly to the floor.
In the chapel I drop to my knees and pray
A lifetime of squatting over long wooden church pews
Memorizing hymns and choruses
Counting the liturgic seconds of sermons
Watching grown men weep and confess
Alter calls
Sinner’s prayers
The slightest admonition saving your soul
“If you confess with your lips and believe in your heart”
And so I follow the ritual exactly, knowing it is my only hope.
I carry this book back through the metal doors
A gift of old poems to read to my sleeping daughter
Fighting for her life.
I lick the tip of my finger for leverage
And thumb worn pages
It is then I see it
Standing there in the dark of the beeping machines and clicking dials
There in the space between words
The words between words
And the expanse of split lines
Off in the margins of what is said
And what is forever unspoken
Blue ink scribbles
Undecipherable and
Improperly phrased
Such sweet smudges lost in time
I strain to focus and perceive
And then I remember,
Oh yes. Oh yes,
I do recall
How quickly love fades into memory's blue haze, and we turn the page.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes turning the page is the best thing. Just keep thinking good things.