I have been privileged to know oblivion.
It is not the same as sleeping;
there are no dreams.
The heart-lung machine churned blood
to keep my organs nourished,
but I was not there.
Hours later in the recovery room
I opened one eye, saw a blank white
window, and knew I had come back
from wherever I had been.
They split my sternum as if I were
a frying chicken, then wired it back.
Although new bone will grow
to fill the gap, the wire remains.
It is heavy, like baling wire,
and will make interesting x-rays.
A pig was sacrificed for my new valve.
Bred to be donors, pampered pigs
lead happy, germfree lives,
and at the end are eased out
gently, without trauma.
Which has more value,
a pig or a person?
Depends on whom you ask.
This body I have known so well—
which part of it holds me?
My heart was not beating.
My lungs had stopped breathing.
My brain no longer functioned.
Where did I go, that day they turned me off?
Was I dead? I did not see bright light
or a dark tunnel. Dead loved ones
did not greet me. I did not float along
the ceiling to watch the surgeons work.
I was just…away. Nowhere,