The OR in Promise

Lydia Flores ~

a paper gown, an intravenous tube and silence greater than my symptoms
sterile sheets speak my fear & insecurity saying will you be there with me
come back after the anesthesia has broken up with me and hold me

could you love a cure that hasn’t found itself yet? will your grace go down
with me weeping and swinging because time is spilling its sand and I am
the ocean afraid to leave?

When the machine goes beep, beep–beep long note
and my body lets go of the hold on my soul
the physician notes the time of my go, will you sigh so I know

what this blood and organs could not say in words, what the chart
couldn’t show? but like a question mark in the form of irises you
look at me and I can’t do anything except fiddle with your hands.

The OR is ready now, preheated for the dough of my body
will I rise? and will you feast at their scalpel success with bliss?
great is the risk but love is a body too and the operation has said
I do; here she is to prep me.

fear whispers for you to kiss me; time demands I have to leave
swinging doors, a pendulum; the gurney mailing frail me–

I forgot to check the mail, I say; you squeeze my hand, touch says,
faith is the quench of what if, still silence is a surgery in of itself and
that prognosis is an unproven drug trial our hearts participated in

clenching you,
thumb caressing my timorous hand
& you say, I know…I know…

and I know–
the doctor says, All right–
we let go.

About the poet:

Lydia Flores is a writer and photographer from Harlem, New York. Her work has been featured in Street Light Press, Kettle Blue Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Deaf Poets Society and elsewhere, including her own website,

About the poem:

“This piece was inspired by the often frail hopes and unsaid anxieties and fears that fill the mind, heart and room when one is facing a surgical procedure, as well as all the unknowns that haunt challenging prognoses.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

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2 thoughts on “The OR in Promise”

  1. Deirdre Hennings

    Very much enjoyed this poem, both for its excellent poetry craft and the fear every patient feels before going under. Thanks!

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