After “A not admitting of the wound” by Emily Dickinson
A knot remains in the incision.
The doctor digs at it
not admitting he missed anything.
Skin has grown over the knot
like the day has over the not so
typical dream. Had the wound
wept until dawn, the pillow wet
and salty as ever, had it stayed covered
it might not have grown so suspicious,
but when the sun rose the wound rose too
and opened the bonds just so, wide enough
to let the mole peek in. At that moment
your life went out the window. The mole
entered then, curled up with you and purred.
You want to tell the doctor this as he roots
through the trough in your back, snorting,
beside himself, no doubt. A wound that resists
closing never proves simple. But it’s just a case
with a lid he’ll pry open and, sure enough,
with tweezers he grabs the knot, pulls it out
and holds it up like an offering to the sun.
Got it! Let’s wait until the results come back
before we look further, he says. Keep it dry.
It will be tender for a while.
He smiles like a carpenter and walks away
from the job without nailing anything down.
You wait for the nurse. The blinds are down.
A draft raises the hair on your arms.
Brenda Schmidt is a writer and visual artist based in Creighton, a mining town on the Canadian Shield in northern Saskatchewan. She’s the author of four books of poetry and a book of essays. Work from Culvert Installations, her book project in progress, is included in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2015. This poem is part of that project as well.