In the recovery room, that wasteland
swelling around each separate room
of anesthesia, I saw swarms of the disfigured,
the only-partially human, the neither
dead nor alive. Abandoned fallacies of selves
desperate in their borrowed beds.
Bough broken, in the bone-
naked light I saw in them their
demon spirits, gruesome, clawed, writhing
like the empty-grinned night-
consumed souls of Bald Mountain
or Hades. Their white eyes bulged
from skulls, their formless shapes suspended
between shrouds of gray stained sheets,
the force of life like a witless bean
still jumping, spasmodic, inside.
I heard the distant thunder of ceiling fans
pushing the sickening air, and over that,
the groans of the dispossessed:
They called Help me, help, cried Mother,
pleaded Is anybody there? I heard
their shocked and shameless moans as feeling
stomped back into organs and limbs
when the luscious numbness of the drugs
wore off. In my strapped paralysis
I wondered if one awful voice was mine.
Each part of my body snapped unwelcomed
into time—cracked and pinned,
bruised and stitched—and I wanted nothing
but to return to the salvation
of oblivion from which I hurtled
so unwillingly toward recovery.