Meditation on a Process by Cassandra Howard


The curtains are shut.
Entering this room of yours
is like diving into a dark abyss.
Everything is black

and blue. Like you.
You are damaged. You
are a flame starved of oxygen,
burning low.
and black.

A sheet hangs
from the ceiling
concealing you
not from the other patient
who is not there
but merely from
my immediate

Your limp, frail body
is covered
with a blanket of deep purples
and blues that seem black
in the shadows of buzzing
machines around your bed.

IVs watch you sleep.
The solutions they seep
into your veins, comfort
you more than my presence
at your bedside.

You are new at being this sick.
Voices -
Ringing telephones -
Nurses in and out -
even my voice drains your vigor.
You wait on wellness in silence
and darkness.


The sunlight breaks in
past slightly opened curtains. A pale yellow
streams down on your face creating an aura
of muted green around your head,
which rests on the surface
of a light blue pillow case.
The blue and purple patchwork
blanket is peeled back
like a scab, revealing
the dull yellow-browns of your neck
and arms.

“I have news for you,” I say.

The division between us slowly mends
as you grow to accept
your body’s betrayal.

I no longer fumble for words
that will not trigger pain, but
once again use my voice to kindle
your own vitality still somewhere inside.

Alone with you, I focus on you -
reexamine everything I thought
I once knew so well, now discolored
with a sickly glow.

When you nod off, my violent stares
turn to the floor, afraid
of waking you.

I become mesmerized by thin cracks
in the egg-yolk tiles, black scores
that branch out
like the spidery veins of your pale arm.


Curtains thrown back today.
You sit on the edge
of your newly made bed
waiting for me.
The sheets are pulled tight,
like strained, taut muscles.

The sun exaggerates the hospital room’s
sterility, everything is brilliant white
and shades of silver. Even the once dark
fissures of the floor are filled and sealed
with a luminescence radiating from something
more holy than the sun.

You are not healed. You are

You are no longer an earthly
mother of mine, no longer
a dutiful daughter,
no longer a wife of a man.

You are a child
born of yourself - born
from a pain I will never know.

You are not absolved
You are absolute.

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