Oddly enough, another poem that finds as it’s initial subject the complications of the Kidney. Just so worried readers know, my kidneys are fully functional. I’m thinking a lot about what it means to be a body, or if some prefer, have a body. I hope you all enjoy.
When the dialysis no longer brought him ease
it was told to him the closest match
was a blood relative, the boy he raised
but could never ask that he offer up his own flesh
to the father who beat his mother blind
each night he’d come home drunk after work.
But, as he discovered years later, new kidney
devoted to refining the blood, sometimes love insists.
So, the son was stripped of his blue jeans and white T,
laid bare and spared the shame of total nudity,
given a backless gown, and asked to flatten out
against the butcher paper meant to keep the cold back
and the steal altar sterile.
The warmed point of the scalpel makes for easy opening,
leaves no tissue or nerve ending unharrowed
beneath the tender patch of skin below his rib.
How medicine can keep the beat going
as the organ thaws, rework our faulty wiring
and replant the hunk of meat within our fertile skin
is beyond my telling, only to say
the steak-weight of gut will be sutured shut,
twelve inches of scar swollen in its place.
Tell the man you meet on the road
to wherever it is you’re going, one day,
if he’s lucky, some part of his body will grow idle,
and the grace allotted to his failing innards
may flush a brighter pink, if the donor comes through,
and blessed he is, all the more, if he can turn
toward the etherized creature being cut open
on his behalf, and whisper his thanks as the dark approaches,
his beggar limbs heavy with their waiting
for the light to break back in, pills to wear off,
and be rolled into the lobby in a wheelchair
so as to steady himself on a familiar shoulder,
resisting the trembling it takes to stand.