WAITING ON INFORMATION FROM DOCTORS
You keep the phone nearby, read over requisition forms
at the kitchen table, steal an hour
outside, where the world smells like rosemary
and damp cedar, lit up green with rain,
until your body sends you to bed again.
Out of breath as if the wind went right through you
the way it shakes the last gold leaves pinned
against a cloudy spread of grey. You roll over
and over on the bedspread, turn the sun
on in a flicker of yellow through the window,
then off. Whole weeks pass
by you like you're in a time-lapse,
every frame captures you in a different sprawl,
now curled under a blanket, now with a book
propped against your knees, now tapping out a nonsense
rhythm on the wall. Except it all happens
in real time until you're bored out of your mind
and your body says, Exactly.
Get out of your mind. It doesn't care that you can't
go to work. Your body's occupied
with its own work, translating
microbial movement into pain. Which is a language
you should have studied better when you were younger
because you don't understand now
what your body's trying to tell you.
Your body doesn't understand money—if it did,
it would sure as hell expect to get paid
for all this sweat and drudgery. Your body
doesn't know how to count, not like you do,
five days wasted on sleep and movies and bad songs
on repeat. Then ten days, twenty, thirty,
then it's better to stop counting
like your body said to in the first place.
At least it never says, I told you so.
Your body's not worried even if you are.
It's satisfied with the snatch of blue
sky that appears through the glass
late in the afternoon, wants only to be well
enough to go touch the tangle of nasturtiums
still growing strong in the garden. Your body
puts up with your obsession with what the doctors
might tell you, even if it can't puzzle out
why you need all these words anyway.
How many times around will it take for you to realize
they don't have information for you,
not the kind you want, not the kind that gives you back
what you think you've lost. Your body
hasn't lost anything, is still a blazing
alchemy of heat and breath, still eager
to see every new sunset through your bedroom window,
that patch of sky polished to a gleam.
© Esther McPhee