Susy was born with hip dysplasia on her left side, first fixed in a series of surgeries when she was small, and all was well for twenty years. But soon after we met, she found that she couldn't stand as long, couldn't walk as many blocks, couldn't go as far or fast as before. It wasn't long until she couldn't sleep right or stand straight at all. Nothing ever hurt me so much to see.
After four years of this, with so much damage that she ran the risk of never standing again, she was finally booked into hospital for a total hip replacement. I sat for hours in the waiting room with her parents, whiling away the nervous ticking time until they called us up with a room number. I stood there in the corner as they wheeled her in, still half-asleep from the surgery. While she slept, I wrote the poem below.
Eight months later, we were crashing in the Nova Scotia surf, and for the first time in what felt like half a life, she was young again. Hold fast.
– The Unveiling –
across the room
and out of reach
my lonely lover loses sleep
the calm clock tocks, the heartbeats beep
the hills of health are steep
but when you reach the top
there's a wooden cross
with two pierced hands
and a scalpel to the side
your eyes are wider than they've ever been
your sight is blurred by the tears of men
oh, Lord, have you seen my vision?
I swept it aside in my stint with a limp
I calmed my heart when my mind was teeming
I was scorched by the steam of dreaming
across the room
in hearts and arms
my lonely lover heals my harms
just by being
light and loving
bright-eyed at the unveiling
she's an ocean
and her soul is smooth sailing
Illinois / Nova Scotia