During his brain surgery, the scalpels
scraped their long, silver tongues
too closely to where he had once thought
of shade trees and ash. The lobes
shrunk against the blinding overhead light
into what was meat to be left in darkness.
My uncle forgot who we were, what year it was,
that Nixon wasn’t President. It was that kind
of horror. The thing is, my aunt said,
he became lucid as a corpse in moonlight,
bending down to a tree, waiting for the river
to pass where it moved blue-black through thorns.
What was left in his head was unstated. Still,
something was there, winding
through the narrow crevices of a brain destroyed
by the interminable clicking of scalpels.
There were different rivers now. Some moved
with the grace of aquamarine, some with the opaque
tint of onyx. But, mostly, there was heavy slush
like lapis that moved blue-black through scars.
Laura Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry, holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry, and hails from the muggy strangelands of the Southern US. Recent publications have appeared, or are forthcoming, in various journals including Right Hand Pointing, Déraciné, Neologism Poetry Journal, Clementine Unbound, Black Poppy Review, and Thirteen Myna Birds.