These are the people who tend to the healing,
my mother says, the mending and setting of bones,
the cuts, sutures, fingers in rubber,
thread through skin
plaster and metal against muscle and wet organ.
This is the land of recreation,
of doctor’s plates and metal tables.
This is where we wait and wait, 1983.
But at only six years old this too
is the land of under-chairs,
of finger-counting, alphabets and books.
This is the land of the beep beep beep machines
of funny nose-tickling smells,
of pretending penny-farthings,
of the inside outside upside
of dreams and naps
of tears and more tears and what high
tall tables and what hard bread.
where all things are made and unmade
and remade again,
what shiny tools,
what clean floors,
space ship dimension
naturally, a family
but still no because
of my mother shushing, shushing me
pressing my head to her leg
hold still, hot hand to cheek
what lips thin line of the nurse
saying words that are just letters
and she says
the man with the funny smell is dead,
but he’s gone.