Saturday, 18 July 2020

Wearing an Armband with my Name
Date of Birth, and Scannable Barcode

by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick

I pace the length of the hospital's pre-surgery gallery
it is not nerves so much as not wanting to tense up
after all I know just how much muscle they will have
to cut to get at the bone, and like with any other meat
I'm told the tenderer slice goes down all the sweeter.

So I walk back-and-forth, past the row of predawn windows
and again, past the black-and-white portraits of Hollywood stars
in the reflected light of so much fragile glass I take my own picture
I let myself be grateful for the miracle of breathing
and for all the amazing mechanics within.

* * * * *

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick is a Spanish/English speaking poet from Long Beach, California. Disabled with scoliosis from a young age, her poems often focus on trauma, giving heart to the antiseptic language of hospital intake forms. She is the author of Watermarked (Sadie Girl Press) and founder of the micro-press BindYourOwnBooks. Kelsey is a Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net nominee, and has had poems accepted by Spillway, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Trailer Park Quarterly, Redshift, Lummox, and Right Hand Pointing. Moon Tide Press’ Poet of the Month for May 2020, find her at and on Instagram @theexquisitepoet.

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