“They cut off my mother’s breast at 8:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, and from the lobby, we watch the low-res screen in the waiting room, color-coded for which stage of surgery she is currently in.”
Abu Anis and Abu Alaa insisted, peeling back the mink blankets and lifting their mother between them. She was crying as they carried her out, and I was on the verge of tears, too, glaring intently into the cross-stitch project on my lap.
The hoopla of the morning sun interrupts
a man’s morbidity, doesn’t it?
—It has no capacity
to instruct us, whose hearts grow
After my mother died, I looked at a photo where she had moved into assisted living from the ER. Her oxygen tube in her nose, two small children standing on each side. Her hands around their hands pulled tightly to her chest, the chorus of knuckles still housed, white like stones, soon to be freed, soon to be splashing like horses.
You trash your room. You twist the arms of your roommate’s glasses and shred her grandchildren’s drawings. You refuse to be medicated, screaming that you are being poisoned. Security is called, and you are restrained in a special chair next to the nurses’ station like a naughty student who must sit next to the teacher.