even drugged, a shunt draining fluid from her brain, the staples
holding the gap where they pried a tumor—the surgeon himself,
made of god particles and skill, the mass splendid because it was
part of her, the mass horrific because it stunted memory and self-care,
even after the anesthesia wore thin and the tubes made her skin
crawl with snakes, she screamed help mother help, my grandmother
years dead, when a man reached between her thighs to slip the catheter
free, even when she could not recognize her daughter or name, when
she was helpless and a man’s hands were uninvited, causing pain,
she panicked, and when I asked why she was yelling help,
she knew enough to say that’s what we have to do, isn’t it?
Megan Merchant lives in the tall pines of Prescott, AZ. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections: Gravel Ghosts (Glass Lyre Press, 2016), The Dark’s Humming (2015 Lyrebird Award Winner, Glass Lyre Press, 2017), four chapbooks, and a forthcoming children’s book with Philomel Books. She was awarded the 2016-2017 COG Literary Award, judged by Juan Felipe Herrera. She is an Editor at The Comstock Review.