Post Op

A-tisket, a-tasket
I'm out of my casket
Into my hospital room
With a view of Riverside Drive
Where the snow is a feathery shawl
My children plump as chestnuts by the fire
My son-in-law so humorous and tall
My mate grandly solicitous, a broker
With a millionaire's account.
My friends bob in
And out like apples
Crying and crying You look wonderful
While underneath this posh new paisley
Bathrobe that laps me in luxury
Underneath my squares of gauze
I've a secret, I've a riddle
That's not a chestful of medals
Or a jeweled lapel pin
And not the trimly sewn
Breast pocket of a tailored business suit
It doesn't need a hanky
It's not the friendly slit of a zipper
Or a dolphin grin
Or a kind word from the heart
Not a twig from a dogwood tree
Not really a worm
Though you could have fooled me
It was not drawn with a crayon
Brushed on with watercolor
Or red ink,
It makes a skinny stripe
That won't come off with soap
A scarlet letter lacking a meaning
Guess what it is
It's nothing

--- From The Crack in Everything
Alicia Suskin Ostriker
Quoted in The Healing Act
Rafael Campo ©2003 W. W. Norton

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