Patry Francis

The Surgeon

Tonight in the dark I run my finger
down the scar that divides you in half.
You go on sleeping as you did at twelve or thirteen
when the surgeon, who spoke to your parents
but never to you, opened your chest
and admitted your heart to the room full of ordinary things:
the green haze of fluorescent lights, polished floors,
the hungry gossip we use to define our lives.
I wish I could have been there that day
to watch as your heart with its malfunctioning valve
fixed as methodically as a carburetor.
I wish I could have seen the secret room inside your chest
cracked open and searched for treacheries.
I would have stood above you
and sewn your right side back to your left
with strong black thread, your heart in place
beneath my hand. I would not have faltered.
But for twenty years I waited to touch the long scar
that divides you like a highway.
For twenty years I waited for this night
when I, having taught myself the boldness of surgery,
could open you and fill you with the things I know:
my stories, my lies, the precision of my touch.

patry francis