Cozy extra-long sweater over a long, patterned dress.
Bib-style beaded neckpiece and a high bun are easy ways to “make an effort” on a day that I really wanted to stay in pajamas

Nerve Damage

Less than one week before you passed
I cut into my left hand finger and thumb.
The effort to coax one last seeded slice
serrated bread knife slips hardened crust
corrugated cut I knew was a mistake.
A particular injury surely notable,
the nerve stitched several times.
The first since I was little, maybe
five or six years old and ran across an unknown sharp,
the cut between my big and second toe
pooling blood once I removed my hands
grasping against the pain.
Fear in my call brought you quickly into action;
pressed towel, cab ride, emergency room,
stitches you often told the story of,
fastening bonds.
Grown with my finger and thumb
clumsily wrapped and dull pained,
I know it is news of the sort
you longed to hear
in the hopeful daily phone calls
before this latest and last stay
in the hospital institution mental asylum
where I could picture you
passing time around the payphone
in a dayroom I’d never seen
and had no plan to visit.
I sat with my hand and my news and that payphone number
written onto my daily glance.
And though I could hear the breathless excitement
the nostalgic injury would surely elicit in regular days
and maybe even bring you back to me,
I did not call to find out
whether you would recall that girlhood pride
telling of my stitches to all who would listen.
I did not call to tell you
that I thought of you,
And when I got the call
that you were gone,
my fingers were still
wrapped and untold.
They remain in occasional pain,
a dullness that tingles,
sharp when pressed
and sickening.

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