The surgeon traces with his pointer
the area of the fracture: the femur with its elegant neck
designed to hold its knob-like ball in the pelvic niche,
the custom-crafted socket. A blurry line and interrupted
symmetry spell breakage. With special fondness then,
he runs the pointer’s tip along an image of titanium stems,
a loosely bundled trio that, by opening an inch-long slit
through skin and muscle of my thigh, he had inserted through
the broken neck into the ball’s mass, fastening them back together.
That he had accomplished this--his tour de force--
his eyes the while on the OR’s x-ray monitor
seems sweet to me, as if he had romanced my bones by proxy,
like arranging a bouquet though an order to FTD.


Other men ask to see my scar. First the PT, filling out his forms:
“Any redness? swelling? May I look at the incision?”
Uh, no. I don’t think so, thanks. Or my leering brother-in-law,
his opening gambit at a party. No. Stop. Just stop it. Now.
But once a man I cared for asked if he could kiss it.
We were on the phone and miles apart, but still that moment
surged with such a flow of tenderness
that I felt stir inside me soft and rippling laughter,
as if those titanium stems had touched
in the narrows of that once-broken vase.

Tar River Poetry, Fall 2014

As “A Secret Offered, Opened Up” in The Garlic Peelers, Quills Edge Press, 2015