Open Heart Surgery by Mary Jo Bang | Poem No. 13 (NPM2017)

Open Heart Surgery

By Mary Jo Bang

I watched while one man’s heart filled the hand

of another. I noticed the inviolate pulsing

envied the sheer tenacity.

We stood like a green sea at the edge of a field
of sterility. The surgeon misbehaved –

became a mad hatter, tossed a dart

at the nurse anesthetist, a dear miss.

It was my job to pour blood through a funnel
to absorb the arterial backlash, become version

of suicide. The paper sheets rustled

in the clear breeze. We all spoke sotto voce.

From the back row, someone sang,
If I give my heart to you.

And all the while, the ghost of Gertrude Stein

was whispering in my ear: Circle one.

You were made for something bitter, bitter, better.


You can get Mary Jo Bang’s book on Amazon and Book Depository.




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