Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dancer in the Dark

It was a blessed film over my eyes, enough to make me crumble,
Or make me cry.
I had to pause last night before I broke what was thinning inside.
But I danced in the dark and prepared my heart for today. For what always makes me girlishly tired and afraid, meek and white and smiling.

Lying still and trying to forget the only thing I feel while all the rest of me is calm:
A pinch, a chill,
Spreading from the top of my taped right hand toward my elbow. Dripping,
a tube. I close my eyes and image myself tearing at the cords that feel so foreign,
Attached to what should be whole flesh.
But I breathe deeply again. How like a child I feel.
Mother, gazing out the kitchen window, washing dishes,
Papa, sealing envelopes downstairs.
There could be soup and cornbread on the table in an hour. I'm only resting
In bed.

This gown is a humbler of humanity.
I am glad though, that it's flannel, and long, and large enough to fold around.
Powder-blue dancing triangles on a white background.
I feel more like a princess somehow. No show, I'm just myself.
I'm in a space made by cream curtains. The woman to my right is giving answers to a nurse. She takes a pill once a year for her skin condition. She considers vitamins solid food. She isn't anorexic anymore.
Humanity. The man who laughed when asked if he had piercings or tattoos (saying, What, at my age?!) is trundled by, grinning, with a weathered patchy face.

It takes a while before they are ready. I am wheeled along with all my attachments, but hardly remember.
Drowsy even before I was drugged, I smiled over my chin
At my doctor in the hallway.
Cheryl (or Cynthia, perhaps?) wore purple. Diane wore pink.
Cynthia. Diane. Did I laugh inside to think of those romantic names?
Hyacinth Claire. Cordelia Fitzgerald...
We played the game of making conversation before I went under. But I started with thin shoots of oxygen that smelled like a new shower curtain. I turned on my side, a white towel under my left cheek.
Rembrandt and the Dutch Masters...
We have a print downstairs. He looks older, and broken, but really a man..
Are you feeling it yet?
And I made sure to murmur his name as the last on my lips
Before sleeping.

Credits: Names,"Hyacinth Claire": Elizabeth Gaskell, "Cordelia Fitzgerald": L.M. Montgomery. 

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