This is a wonderful poem about waking up after brain surgery. It is clearly written. I love it when I can read a poem twice and (1)pretty much understand what is there in front of me while (2) gaining much from being able to do this.
What have I gained? Insight into what it must be like to go through such a ________experience. (At first I was going to put a word there. And then I realized that once again I don’t have one or two words that are adequate. )
That’s why I need the poem.
It is called Letter and is written by Patricia Kirkpatrick.
Of course there were voices in the night,
and the presence of dying,
that white, fringed place.
Shallow breath, narrow entrance–
the door to death opened.
Then there were steroids
and their lack of inhibition.
There was terror. I admit it.
Just before I learned the news
I realized all you have meant to me
and I thought I had too much feeling
to continue to see and spend time with you.
Then they told me I had a brain tumor
and it had to come out. Damage had already happened.
Seizure and aura, the grey dome of the growth
or a cathedral lit at the top where the cross is. Flora wrote
so much of life we find in the funniest places.
Cutting and stitches.
More blood than the surgeon had ever ordered.
I knew I needed your help
for the children, the family I might have to leave.
I am writing to say I can make the changes.
I am writing to say I have been opened and closed.
I am writing to say that today when the nurse came
to change my dressing,
she glanced up and said, “Oh, look, is that snow?”
We looked out the window and saw it together,
those white, fringed birds
flying, the first snow of the new season.
“The poem ‘Letter’ first appeared in FLURRY,
toddbosspoet(at)mac(dot) com. It is reprinted here with permission of
Patricia Kirkpatrick has published a book of poetry, CENTURY’S ROAD
as well as books for young readers. She is Poetry Editor for the