Writing

Post-op images

25 paragraphs • 604 words

Saturday is for mechanics. Sunday is for terror. Monday is for acceptance. Tuesday is for purging. Wednesday is for anxiety. Thursday is for sleep.
When I am asleep The world changes around me. In spring, I am changed.
I'm no good at images, only words, and yet for days after surgery, as anesthesia and countless milligrams, milliliters, millions of drugs leave my system, I'm lousy with visions, each lousy with meaning. I lay in bed, unable to move, struggling to keep my eyes open; I know that if I close them, I'll be lost, I'll be lost, I'll be mired in waking dreams, coherent visions with all the logic of that paler side of consciousness. Perhaps the veil here is still too thin and vague, the pool too clear, the monsters too scary too lean, too mean, too hungry, or perhaps I was too close to death to come away totally unscathed, too close to completely survive. It's as though, laying here, stinking of hospital, I'm seeing emotions play out, Scene after scene, scene after scene, anxiety shown in heaps of discarded entrails, hope in the ceaseless ratcheting of gears, determination in the marching of feet. If I were an artist, perhaps I could hope to touch these images, but as it is, every word falls short, too vague, too inexact, too tight to hope to explain something so vast by the very act of attempting to reproduce; I can only hint from the margins. That poetry can accomplish what prose cannot in its economy of motion is attractive to me, here in recovery - so tired, so tired, so tired - so maybe I can hope to express the dire import of these visions dancing behind closed lids, or at least remind myself on rereading. Even now, a week out, I'm starting to lose touch with the visions, I can almost touch them if I squint, lie real still, don't move now, but even then, a shadow of the substance... I'm starting to consign to memory that which was probably memory to begin with.
It is two hundred miles between what I expect and what I want. Two hundred long strides that seem impassible from one direction, and from the other a day's short drive. It is nine and a half hours between question and answer. A half hour of jazz, nine hours of sleep, a scant second of perspective, and I can only traverse in one direction It is eleven inches between who I was and who I am. Ten of those inches are pain, the eleventh is numb, There's pleasure to be had in there, I'm promised. It is twelve years between what I want and what I get: Ten years of remembering who I will become, two years running, Eight days dreaming.
What have you changed? My mind What changed you? Nothing What became of it? I am not who I was What have you changed? My name What changed you? The word What became of it? I am called who I am What have you changed? My looks What changed you? The light What became of it? I am seen as I am What have you changed? My chemistry What changed you? The substance What became of it? My form is my own What have you changed? My body What changed you? The knife What became of it? I am shaped how I am What have you changed? Nothing What changed you? I was accepted What became of it? I accepted myself What have you changed? Everything What changed you? Everything What became of it? I became who I am

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