Some procedures have no pain
that we remember.
Anesthetized, we slowly wake
to the delirium of daylight,
the gated bed, the tubes, telemetry,
the insistent recall to identity,
the life we are required to resume—
it is there pain takes up residence.
They call it healing.

My daughter, lifted from the cross,
must now endure recovery.
My neighbor, crawling from the grave,
must now walk upright.
Our soldiers, damaged in an instant,
must mend for years.

They say the suffering unto health
hurts less than suffering unto death.
Those suffering don’t say this.

They say: We are broken, Lord,
like communion bread.
What can we do but kneel
and open our hands?

Diane Vreuls has published a book of poems, a novel, a collection of short stories, and a children’s picture book. She lives in Oberlin, Ohio.
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Published in the February 20, 2015 issue: View Contents
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