Staple Lady

Next time her skull is sliced open, she must have a mind limber as rubber, bending to the pain. Under the bright lights of the icy theater she will melt, allowing the saw’s buzz to fade into the sound of the surgeon entering her interior, surveying the field of tumors for the bad one. When he finds it, there will be no escaping his blade. She will hear him hack through her anesthetic fog and scrape at her numb meninges wall, vanquishing the invader. Perhaps she is only dreaming, she thinks: when she awakens she will be at home, puzzled but refreshed from this deeply troubled sleep. But then she feels the bone door closed and stapled shut, cancelling her delusion. Later she is told that the enemy is gone but his colluders, claiming innocence, remain. A new vigil begins as she watches and waits for them to regroup, organize and grow. She confesses that she loves her staples. Furtively, she caresses them throughout the day. They are her secret cranial adornment. Under her hair, in all their metallic glamor, they are hers alone to enjoy. Daily, she attends to them holding closed her incision, tenderly washing and polishing them so they shine like a zipper, ready for the grab. Meanwhile, inside, the humors rise and fall like the tide, sway to the east with the wind, hold fast against the western torment brewing. Above, the wise sagittal sinus keeps things churning, as the heart pumps furiously below and the mind—her determined mind—keeps flexible but centered on the task of healing and staying healed. Gingerly, she peers through her two still functioning eyes, the skull’s port-hole access to the sea, and beyond, to the healing world for whom she will endure still more incursions, stay supple and ready, if only

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