As the black wings close in on you,
their circling shadows blighting the sand,
and your limp legs buckle, far
from that shimmering oasis
on the horizon,
as you face the implacable,
hoping for one more lucky reprieve
which you feel in your quivering heart
will arrive a moment too late,
even after the first white pill,
you will not surrender,
for back there somewhere,
safe from the hovering vultures,
is that sketchy
grand design, that revolution
on the drawing board—no,
all these years you've resisted
that sleek seducer, Completion—and now,
as the mask snugs over your face, you feel
your legs go young again, heading out
for the shimmering palm trees
they will never reach,
and you suck in great welcome gulps
of the endlessly possible.
A friend of mine had brain surgery this week. It was postponed for four hours, and then took six hours to complete. When she awoke, she encountered unexpected complications: paralysis of one arm, serious seepage at the site of the sutures.
She's been in ICU for days, cautioned not to move lest she worsen her state.
Yesterday, after some smart maneuvers by her ICU professionals, she was able to move the fingers of her previously paralyzed hand, and the seepage slowed. She's not entirely out of the woods, but she's on the path.
She's a writer and a musician. I hope that when she's allowed to raise her head, she'll read this poem and it will speak to her experience. I find it rather beautiful and offer it as a token toward the gods to conjure her continued recovery.
p.s. Thanks to Bill Moyers's website, where he recommended a number of poetry books. I hopped to his interview with Appleman, and enjoyed the five poems read aloud during the original broadcast. From there, I went to Appleman's page on Poets.org, and found three stellar offerings.