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The Dead Visit Before a Routine Procedure

I fanned out, light as a leaf,
elixir darkening my veins.
A nurse grounded me
with a blanket hot from the dryer,
and I waited in a cube
marked off by curtains;
time, an oven door cracked open
and my father, sister and grandmother
gathered in the wavy air
with their gentle, long faces
and pale eyes.
An attendant
with a merman’s wet, black curls
rolled me down a hallway,
under a fluorescent keyboard—
dark, light, dark, light, dark—
and I was stored somewhere safe.
Then a nurse was standing
by my bed, offering
apple juice and crackers,
and I was back
in the world of teeth
and trains, the world I hate
and love.

Big City Lit and Sober Cooking

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