The Surgery (a poem)

When I get the news

that they are prepping Dad

for his planned

open heart surgery,

my mind snags on the image

of scalpel slicing through skin

and I want to burst in

and interrupt,

declare it a terrible


Now, midway through

his surgery,

I picture his chest


and shimmering

after a summer afternoon

of shirtless lawnmowing.

So long ago.

I did not know,

could not have known,

that chests could be opened,

hearts stopped

and started again.

Now, there is only

distracting myself

with a drive.

In the grille of my car,

a mangled butterfly.

That I killed it

without even knowing

makes me