A Friend Who Had a Similar Surgery

comes over unexpectedlyher arrival a herald of her heavy confidence. When a doctor made her next knee out of metal and socket, I left a bag with chocolate, a magazine, a note scrawled out hastily in her driveway with portents of get well soon, keep occupied, nurse your new joint like it were your own.

She, of all, knows how—adopted a son who was once someone else’s damaged goods. His brain tumor wrote itself across a half-slurred child face, a smallness that placed him alone and in the perpetual front row. When she says, Man, I wish I had a maid, and he hears her, he calls from his full-headed bed: Man, I wish I had a Dad!

She peers over my pink blanket and strokes my stale hair. I do not offer my scars for her perusal, because she knows the pain of not being able to have, of having and losing, and obtaining something that takes longer to make your own than your own ever would. In her softened waddle, I see a hardened warrior, a steeled surrogate, a reminder that what we call misery

might actually be easy.

Hands

Weird. And what are you?Folding everything important except liquid, drenched with inopportune sweat, ten digits like a phone number, seizing like talons though we don’t necessarily find our own food or anything really to hold onto.

My grandma used mine to clasp her bra behind her shingled back, asked if I could tie her shoes when her knuckles turned to knobs. These pointed things on our twisty wrists are performances of young and love and young love.

You can make a swan on a wall, but what was that church, steeple, here’s all the people song about anyways? I only noticed my confused thumbs, never ever cut my nails. I guess daily function wore down the points. Have you ever thought of all the things you do with your hands?

Have you ever thought of all the things you don’t?

On Euterpe (muse of Music)

There are too many kids on the corner to count—I watch their mothers before the block is awake.

Drug deals play out their beat: the reticent shuffling song of my street.

A thinskin sunken cheek creature

preludes her emaciated mate.

Sometimes the container is a Lean Cuisine box. Sometimes a too transparent bag.

One woman whistles. The other’s feet meet her,

like a drumroll, hurtling slowly, in their unintended percussion.

Amidst this melody of stripped soles, I peer over a rim of wrought iron

in my canopy of leaves and judgment studying their musculature and worn bones,

watching white powder turn women into my morning wonders.

The children, in unknowing orchestration, fill the silence in this early high song—

the asphalt opera disjointing two moms—

and I number eight, no nine

babies waiting, wordless, to be brought inside.