AFTER COFFEE WITH MY NURSE FRIEND
The fat. It can’t hold stitches. She kept breaking open. Holes in her stomach pouring liquid. I gathered her in my arms like a load of laundry, stuffed into the MRI. She couldn’t speak. She’d communicate by blinking. Moving her eyes: left (pain) right (pain). Sadness doesn’t need words. I tried keeping eye contact as we pushed her (300 pounds) back onto the gurney, but her tears became mine. I had to look away.
Soul: A connection with the word sea, and from this evidence alone, it has been speculated that the early peoples believed that the spirits rest in water.
I told her husband she wouldn’t last the surgery. He said he needed a drink and a cheap hooker. I couldn’t tell if he was joking. I knew she had heard. I didn’t know if it was a joke. I said, we all have to cope somehow. She didn’t blink.
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment: “Laughter is an effect that arises if a tense expectation is transformed into nothing.”
Her husband wasn’t at the surgery. She survived. I held her hand until the nurses’ bell rang. We can make a person live. When we called her home, no one answered. There are times I don’t know what we are saving each other from.
—from Rattle #61, Fall 2018
Nicelle Davis: “It is difficult to love; no amount of googling for solutions is going to help this.” (web)