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After Surgery

Sihler, Ann C.

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: January 2006 - Volume 106 - Issue 1 - p 28
FEATURES: Art of Nursing

“After Surgery,” a poem.

Ann C. Sihler, a freelance writer and editor, lives and works in Portland, OR. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Nervy Girl!, Out of Line, the Portland Alliance, and the Hollywood Star.

Sihler wrote this poem after her mother had surgery to replace her mitral valve, which had been damaged in childhood by rheumatic fever, with a mechanical model.

Art of Nursing is coordinated by Sylvia Foley, senior editor:

Since when do doctors break smooth bones

juice pulsing hearts to quietude

trim and toss a floppy valve

just because it’s old and tired? Who’s not?

Here, they say in ethered haze,

meet your new dance partner. He’s

Fred Astaire on steroids

Gene Kelly in hypoallergenic jacket

silken Gregory Hines, always by your side . . .

the elegant, the virile Mister Titanium

whose metallic beat (click click, click click)

will show you just which way is which.

At home, though, Mister Titanium counts,

not dances (click click, click click).

At night when others fade away

in my ear (click click, click click)

he ticks off sorrows, shame, regrets.

Souped-up timer (click click, click click)

can’t stop counting

seconds left.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.