When the Blood Fell Short of Her Toes (Neeta Jain)

I would advise my mother the
same if the blood fell short of her
toes, the anesthesia doctor tells.

The useless leg, staining rouge, sits in
the crook of my arm. I brace it,
the knee’s right angle corners my
elbow in my hip
which bruises later.

She cannot endure intubation
from the weakness in her beat,
eyeliner straight-edged below
a cloudy clean cap. We search

at her ischium
with numbing sticks, rooting
to quiet the sharpness of nerves.

My gut crumples
with her face.

I’ll make you a nice wooden one,
her husband catches their tears
on his big thumb.


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