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Mop String


ISSUE:  Autumn 1997
Everything in my hospital room
remained photograph still
during my two-week stay
except for the inch of string
pushed loose from the mop
by the maid’s exuberant sloshing.
Pet-like, it hid in a new corner
each day, dragged to the door
by the surgeon’s four-pound brogan,
or plastered to the molding,
a convict pinned against
the perimeter wall
to evade the searchlight,
parched, doused, stiffened again
with a pine scent.
Just before they wheeled me
through the exit’s glass doors,
I picked it up.
Sunlight leapt upon the windows
of the airport bus,
onto rows of bandaged passengers
pressing their incisions
at each sharp turn,
and the pungent inch,
the rough charm
that kept me company
while my drilled skull throbbed,
seemed lost, not saved,
as it unfurled along the lifeline
of my palm.

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