"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gravity

Many of my blogging friends are writing about love scenes and here I am, writing about dust. I wouldn't blame you if you hit exit. Get me the hell out of here! But I wish you'd stay. Sometimes I don't feel like writing about love. Oh, I like nothing better than a good love scene, the warm calloused hand sliding over the knee, under the skirt, oh, God! don't stop! and I like writing them as much as reading them. It gives me that funny feeling in the groin just thinking about it, but sometimes I have to write about what makes me sick.

Hospitals make me sick. The sterile maze of hallway, doors opened to bare backs on beds, the indignity of disease, how it diminishes and reduces one to zero. The gift shops all have the same trinkets and flowers and get-well balloons. Get well. Get well. But what if they won't let you go home? Then how do you get well? I suppose it's the smell that starts the quiver in my belly, the oh-I'm-going-to-be-sick twinge in my gut. I'm not much use in a hospital, other than to sneak in cookies and date bread (real food) books and newspapers, but even when you pull the curtain you can still hear the roommate groaning. I can't adjust a pillow without glancing at the monitor and staring at the squiggly life lines and all those fluctuating numbers, and I think I have a heart problem or a lung disorder or what if that little bump on my ankle that when rubbed sends tingles into my toes is not benign? What if it gets bigger? Why can't I make an appointment? I so admire nurses and caretakers and doctors and everyone who works in a hospital. My sister held hearts in the operating room, the warm center of gravity in the palms of her hands without moving for however long it took to disconnect and reconnect and suction and suture. She retired early but not without varicose veins. All that standing. I stand most of the day too, but I could never do what she did.


The door swings empty. Dust settles.
Flesh accommodates.
Even a feather obeys gravity.
The old lady stumbles but she recovers.
I hurt therefore I am.

When you crossed the hospital lobby
Did you think to escape
With only shaking hands?
Pick up your feet.

Make a wrong turn and you could come up missing,
Walking back at yourself with the look of another.
in elongated mirrors hung in corners.
Don’t breathe.

Grandma couldn’t without the ventilator,
hissing and pumping a nasal gurgle.
(Did I dream that noise?)
The incident, unforeseen, took her down
one day before she was to come home,
one from which she could not recover.

It’s raining again at the window bed,
Steady as the pocket watch ticking
from where no one can see it.
It paces us through gathering events.
In a place like this . . . the only time I ever saw
my father down.

Out of time. And when was it ours?
Sometimes we can’t go home but would it matter
if we don’t recover?
We get along. Dust settles.

14 comments:

She Writes said...

I love the way you did this and the final lines were perfect.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh my word. So beautiful, Yvonne. I don't know how you do it, how you take something that is instinctively distasteful to people--like a hospital and really make it into somethng a little less...scary? "We get along. Dust settles."

I hate hate hate hospitals, and you certainly captured the essence of why! But you did it in a way that feels natural and all a part of routine, in a way that makes you a little more immune to the horrors of it. And yet, bittersweet: "Out of Time. And when was it ours?" Lovely. Truly.

Simon C. Larter said...

We can't write about love every day, good lady. Sometimes we just have to go with what we feel. I salute you for staying true to that.

Alice Audrey said...

I know how you feel. Just the thought of how a hospital smells makes my throat tight.

Jemi Fraser said...

We're all pretty useless in hospital settings in my family. I'm so very glad there are people who are able to not only work there, but thrive there. Bless them.

Lovely.

sarahjayne smythe said...

This is beautiful. Elegant and exquisite in its simplicity. You have such an amazing way with words. Reading this took my breath away.

Yvonne said...

Amy,
Thanks so much.

Carol,
Thanks! If I managed to do that--make it into something scary--then I'm glad to have written this.

Simon,
Thanks! And thanks for reinforcing that we must write what we feel if it is to be any good.

Alice,
You've got it....it's a tightness in the throat. Thank you.

Jemi,
Yes, bless them. I've always admired my sister. I can't even help my husband get a sliver out of his finger without feeling queasy. Thanks!

Sarahjayne,
Thank you so much. What a lovely compliment. It took my breath away.

Tahereh said...

i loved this post. you have a great, great voice and a real talent with words.

thanks so much for sharing -- and best of luck!!

Yvonne said...

Tahereh,
Hi! Thank you very much. I'm glad you took the time to read my post and then comment. I love comments!

catwoods said...

Yvonne,

You have such a beautiful way with expressing the beauty within you. That was a stunning tribute to your sister.

Your poem is visceral and loaded with so much unsaid angst.

Wendy aka Quillfeather. said...

'We get along. Dust settles'. Simply Beautiful.

You have a way with words, Yvonne.

Keep at it :)

Pat Tillett said...

Beautiful...
I "found" you at "writing in the wilderness." I love your poetry and writing. If you don't mind, I'm going to tag along
thanks!

Wine and Words said...

I prefer the dust today. I get tired of every song being of love lost or won, love new or dying. There must be more to life, especially the corners of it, where dust collects like trace evidence, bearing signature to other weighty matters. I loved this.

Yvonne said...

Cat,
Thank you very much. My sister is pretty amazing. Thanks again for your support. I'm so pleased that you liked it.

Wendy,
Thanks! I would die if I could no longer write. Shrivel up inside and waste away. Thank you for coming here.

Pat,
Hi! Yea!! Thanks so much!


WW,
Thank you. How beautifully put..."bearing signature to other weighty matters". I'm so glad you liked it.