POEM XLVI: “UPON LOSING A LIMB IN THE BOSTON MARATHON”

Hey, I was using that.

Maybe not perfectly,
not always gracefully,
but it was mine, and its usage
was none of your concern. You had no right–
but what am I saying,
I should be thanking God
that I am breathing
which is more than I can say for that poor fucker there,
in the hallway, covered in his rubber sheet–would someone give the guy a private room, at least, to be dead in?

I’ll give him mine, gladly;
not to be alone right now
with my bloody stump.

Say, tell me; what does it say on my chart? I keep asking them, but no one will let me read it. Does it say
I am a difficult patient?
No? Well, there’s a surprise. I would have thought the night nurse hated me, the way she looks.
Maybe that’s just her way
of keeping the bloody stumps at bay.
A thousand violations a day
and you retract into yourself like a snail.
Leaving a wretched ooze behind you upon the linoleum.

Strange,
that I should be better adjusted to this already
than the doctors.
Who all talk to me about a “mourning period”
for my lost function–
careful language about “moving on” and “reimagining”.
I want to tell them,
I know mourning
and this isn’t it.

This is anger, pure as a fountain of blood
rocketing up my esophagus
to splatter everything around me.
I want to destroy nations. I want to eat men.
I want–
but it doesn’t matter what I want.

What I want is gone:
whatever’s left over,
that’s what I’ve got.

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