today can take your breath away
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Marc Swan is a retired vocational rehabilitation counselor. His poems have recently been published or forthcoming in Mojave River Review, The Nashwaak Review, Nerve Cowboy, The Chaffin Journal, among others. He lives with his wife Dd in Portland Maine.
the world I understand, take for granted
becomes another place in my head.
I’ve pedaled ten miles on my exercise bike,
watched countless gulls fly by,
into the daily routine:
making the bed, taking a shower, cleaning up
the kitchen. My wife comes home from yoga,
goes in the bedroom to change.
I grab a tissue to blow my nose.
The next thing I know Paul,
the EMT, is asking my name. My wife says
later I ask everyone I see
over and over again,
“What happened?” “Did I fall?”
Yes, I’ve fallen,
dropped like a sack of rocks
to the hardwood floor, splattered
like a watermelon, fresh and ripe;
eyes open, blood pools around
my head. My wife tells me
she thought I was dead.
I’m not dead, just damaged.
The two-flight stretcher ride is bumpy.
Paul is sorry. The next thing I know
I’m in critical care hooked to an EKG,
IV for pain, trying to follow words
from Bridget, the nurse, who says
“Syncope—your words will return.” I feel
calmness from above, realize it’s my wife
stroking my head, helping me rise from the fog.
It’s a long day in ER. When the cloud disperses,
an inch and a half gash
on the back of my head is stapled shut.
Yes, from a special staple gun,
four zaps. I’m released to go home
with caution they say,
much caution for many days.