First Shower After Surgery

Kristene Kaye Brown


Metastasis sick. Morphine dumb.
This body
is no longer mine. 

Cut hip to hip, the faucet turns
and a frozen lake pools
beneath my fingers,
beneath my toes. 

Thin ice. Thin stitch.
Give me the itched fish of mend.
Give me the washed out road 

of my spine
spiraling into a million sympathetic
rivulets. What I wouldn’t give 

for softer water.
Year after year, calcium accumulates
like small bones. 

It is so very nice to be pulled up
to where the light lives.
Begin with the tender neck, 

the delicate divot of a collar bone
and let this water
wash away 

whatever it is that keeps the hurt
from finding me.
I breath. I say, I am okay. Once, 

a spring storm turned the basement
into a moss colored sea,
a flood knitting its brown curtain 

up to the basement door.
I woke at midnight to find drawers
of water 

carrying away the Christmas tree.
I couldn’t sleep, dreaming of ruin.
Nothing to do

but wait for daylight, wait
for the house to sort out
its own inner destruction,

that there might still be
some solid structure left
when all of this is through.

Return to Fall 2018 Volume 10.1




KRISTENE KAYE BROWN is a mental health social worker. She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has previously been published, or is forthcoming, in DIAGRAM, Columbia Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, Meridian, Nashville Review, and others. Kristene lives and works in Kansas City.