Friday, September 4, 2009

Poem: Worker's Compensation

by Alex Gallo-Brown


First, a mistake:
your garden variety carelessness
combined with the inane
desire to please

and then a split
in the nail
so instant
it was like
it happened apart
from time altogether--
a bright red rod
scoring the bed in two.

The immediate reaction to contain,
to push the flesh back together,
to do the thing over.

Not so much pain
as embarrassment,
a fierce return
to the physical.


The faces in the emergency room
frozen in their grief.
Or else they are not really grieving,
have come here for
some minor, mundane procedure.
Faces immobilized for some other reason.

Deeper in the ER, the doctor tells me
about her recent separation from her husband,
how this is a good thing because
she listens to more music now.
About her nephew in Minneapolis
who helped her to order a stereo online
which came in the mail in many boxes.
How proud she was of herself
for figuring it all out.

How sad she seemed in herself
for figuring it all out.

I listen to the sad doctor,
shooting my finger
full of pain killer.

Wait a few minutes, she says,
and you won't feel a thing.

I watch her
cut away
the top of my nail
with a very small pair of scissors
and sew the skin back together.

1 comment:

  1. i always loved trying to figure out what weird experience you had by piecing together these multi-part poems of yours... reminds me in a strange way of the one where your car got broken into... and there's a scene in the airport with someone looking out the window...