Correspondence to: Michael Steffen, 11 Columbus St, Apartment 4, Roseto PA 18013; e-mail: email@example.com
Recovering from bypass surgery, I slowly walk the hall
on the top floor of a hospital. I’ve been issued
a brown plush bear with a white t-shirt,
curved limbs, spoon-shaped paws and a booklet,
“The Care and Feeding of Sir Koff-A-Lot,”
which illustrates how I’m to use him as a cushion.
Press his back against your incision. This will exert a counterforce
that will ease the pain of your coughing. Shuffling along,
dangling my bear beside me, I peer through an open door.
A man is propped in his bed—motionless, detached,
clutching a bear to his stitched chest, stroking its soft fur.
He sees me, and I nod. He nods back. It’s been established
that we possess the same marks in our flesh.
We wave our bears at each other. We smile.
Editor’s Note:The poet has an MFA in Creative Writing and has been published in the best poetry journals. He states that “Pain Bears” was written from personal experience and shares a somewhat odd, but comforting moment during a very difficult time.
—Michael Zack, MD, FCCP
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