Nov 18, 2014

Witness

Written by Bruce Bond

Read by Emilia Phillips

I too would pass out
alongside those in the operating room
who in spite of all
they witness cannot take the severing of limbs,
the saw, the bite, the fall
of bone from bone, so difficult to think about

let alone see there
where the nurse I know swears an invisible
spectrum floods the place,
from the extremity a radiance expelled,
or freed perhaps, released
the way deep sleep releases its lust, its luster.

It takes a surgeon’s steel
to withstand, he says, a skin tougher than mine
will ever be, a trust
in the horrible mercy of impermanence,
the flesh like flecks of rust
spun out of the cut. There is no sterile needle

or prayer to bind the flow
of images, the effulgence of the phantom
limb that blushes through
the bandage. What you witness fills the tomb
of the eye, and you
cannot kill it and keep the host alive. How

does he cope, I wonder,
when he lays his wallet on the nightstand,
when the sparks of night
rain fall around his cup of steam, around the hand
and the meat it cuts,
the mouth it waters, the opening of the wound.

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