What the surgeon couldn’t do
I dream a big brown dog with a pink sequined collar
mauls her, rips open her gut, ruts around inside,
runs off with the malignancy flopping in his jaws.
He leaves us the rest of her, but his stupid tail knocks over
the flower I’d been trying to grow for use as metaphor
in her eulogy. They have such difficult reputations,
orchids. Anyhow, its petals are lost in a pile of black soil
on the floor. The fragments of the pot gape in a crescent
like God’s yellow teeth. Mom’s only got half an abdomen
now. She’s bleeding all over the leaf-patterned linoleum,
but we’re all more hopeful than we used to be.
Triptych for Sirens in the Park
Define emergency as the rush-to
(save someone before it’s too late).
Define emergency as heart-stop,
car-crash, smash-skull, as blood-flow
too-fast out open wounds. Define emergency
as gun-pop and men-fall. In the street,
we pull cars aside to make way.
The ambulance can come for nothing,
but the family will say someone tried.
They tried. And didn’t we? It’s indulgent to lie
on the gurney beneath the sheet – it was my turn
to be the ghost – while everyone stands around,
wonders what to do, looks on as the child
who followed the sirens on his bike
jumps up, pounds on the body.
The Divorce Consent calls the marriage
irretrievably broken (not an emergency),
calls us broken, calls us irretrievable.
The us: irretrievable. The we: irretrievable.
Repeat it enough, and it jumbles. (It’s too late.)
In irretrievably, hear blurry. Hear
fallable . In the irretrievable,
hear bull. Hear tree-fall and enviable –
those who collapse beyond reach of sirens,
avoid the disappointed faces of the eager
paramedics and the fists of children
who’ll do anything to bring us back.