I WAS, BACK THEN

Fifteen years ago, I tell them,
I was invincible, nothing bothered me,
nothing held me back and even
the few surgeries were short
rest stops on a runner’s highway.

I knew it would last forever, I
knew I was kidding myself.

Now, aging, I am held together
by titanium and injections,
trying to fall apart with
as much grace as possible.

My little problems are now
chronic, degenerative
and progressive, yet I live on
for there is no good alternative,
and hope that medicine finds
solutions before my problems
completely overtake me.

SURGERY

Preparing it to undergo
the knife, its core excised,
stem cast aside, sliced
then cut into pieces
I pause to consider that
this pear was once
a blossom, a delicate
white flower, its cranberry
red anthes soon to turn
black, picked carefully,
cradled into a bushel,
by a knowing hand,
washed, and gently
packed for shipment.
For me it was just
plucking it from the bin
at the market, holding
it in the harsh lighting
looking for blemishes,
and then placing it
in the cart, then the bag
hoping it would not
bruise before undergoing
its final surgery.

AS INSTRUCTED

As I was leaving the surgical center
they handed me the sheet
with my post-procedure instructions,
a sign of faith perhaps, that I
was sufficiently out of the sedation
to know what I was given.

I tucked them in my pocket, anxious
to get home, to get coffee
and the food I’d been denied
since midnight the night before
just in case something went wrong
and they had to put me fully under.

I did get relief from my pain
but I tossed and turned in bed
my sleep coming in fits and starts,
for no apparent reason, and when
I read the instructions this morning
I checked off the side effect insomnia
and gave a half check to irritability.