confronts me. Flux and change
mark this strange world of drifting scenes.
They blur and merge; the house lights dim;
the stage lights blaze;
the knives are out; a cast of shades
is waiting in the wings.
A disembodied voice, the leading man's,
its aim to reassure, proclaims:
"Low blood loss operation, this."
No one replies.
Half-seen (more ghost-like than I'd thought),
they glide on stage. Or do they?
In this topsy-turvy world, they have encircled me.
Theatre in the round. Or is it? Am I not
the one on stage! I look up to the lamp,
the nearest, largest lamp, almost above my head.
Its polished rim is mirror-like, gives sight
beyond the wall. Chief ghost
is cutting something - and the cut is long and thin,
its ends and middle decorated with
three glistening beads, tiny and bright red.
Unpacking something - me - as from
a bag, he finds his role
and slips into his second skin,
becomes the master craftsman, and begins.
He rummages a bit, then grunts -
he's found the hernia.
A head is laid alongside mine. I do not see it,
quite so much as feel it there. "Hey,
you can see, can't you?" she says,
and looking where I am looking, asks
if I am watching what she sees. I own up,
wondering if I have broken any laws...
Perhaps it's criminal stupidity... Indecency...
Am I a spy? A Peeping Tom? Ostensibly,
her role is pump attendant at the cannula
in my left hand. In fact, I am convinced
she's there to keep my spirits buoyed.
So well she does it that, distracted, I
come close to missing what I sense to be
the highlight of the enterprise: a length
of mesh becomes a part of me.
That which was torn was fixed and now is fortified.
Chief ghost regains his former role, adjusts the lamp -
and by so doing has removed my view.
Above the wall, just heads and faces, masks and shrouds -
and now and then, a blood-stained something on a stick.
They will be pleased to take you -
but not to bring you back