As many of you know the biopsy of my prostate was taken on our 37th anniversary and the surgery happened on Valentine’s Day. That is enough to set a lover’s heart to pondering the meaning of things. Here is part of the overflow.
For Noël, Valentine’s Day 2006
The Day of Surgery
The news awakens quietly and soft
surrounded by the hard, white, silver
angles of the sterile room
where Dr. Heller flips back
through his pages certifying for his mind
what he has felt.
It rises from its bed
while helpers fetch
the gun that sounds like one
which fastens staples in a pole
or one that shoots flame out the end
to light the kitchen stove.
And I am left alone between
his first guess and the biopsy,
sitting on the table with my sock feet
dangling like a helpless child,
and looking at the cartoons
tacked up catawampus on the corkboard
so that you can read them lying on your side.
Alone there waiting,
it rises from its bed
and takes a deep, deep breath
For twenty hours or so it stretches
this way and that.
And then, next day, after the call,
it stands and puts on clothing:
royal blue and crimson
with black boots and gold buttons
and a shining belt and sword.
It drives the royal carriage
down to the riverside
and there high in the mansion
makes itself almost explicit.
Tonight it gathers up its strength
before we walk together down those mighty halls
and there at Unit 3 take leave
perhaps as we have never done before.
It gathers up its strength tonight
and speaks: “I love you more than ever