The Mastectomy Poems: 2. The Gurney

Alicia Suskin Ostriker
From: The Crack in Everything, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996.
Last Modified: March 5, 2004

OncoLink Poetry

What's this long corridor above the street
What are these glazed beige tiles
Why in my horizontal state
Am I so like an undemanding child

After they wheel me in my bassinet
Into the operating room
Who made the muslin sheets so dry and white
Over my humid body's doom

How radiant the ceiling lights, of course
They buzz appealingly for me alone
I'm special, special, to my Haitian nurse
And now my surgeon pulls rubber gloves on

And now the anesthesiologist
Tells something reassuring to my ear-
And a red moon is stripping to her waist-
How good it is, not to be anywhere