When the doctor cut off my son’s cast the
high scream of the saw filled the room
and the boy’s lap was covered with fluff like the
chaff of a new thing emerging, the
down in the hen-yard. Down the seam that
runs along the outside of the arm and
up the seam along the inside — that
line where the colour of a white boy’s arm
changes like a fish from belly-white to prismatic,
the saw ranged freely — the saw that does not cut flesh,
the doctor told us, smiling. Then the
horrible shriek ran down in a moment to nothing
and he took a sharp silver wedge like a
can-opener and jimmied at the cracks
until with a creak the glossy white
false arm cracked and there lay the kid’s
sweet dirty forearm, thin as a darkened twig.
He lifted it in astonishment, like a gift,
It’s so light! he cried, a lot of light coming out of his eyes,
he fingered it and grinned, he picked up the
halves and put them together and gripped it and
carried it out through the waiting room and
everyone smiled the way you smile at a wedding, so
deep in us the desire to be healed and joined.
Amazing how you can almost always find a poem for every occasion.
Today was my 10 week check on my dumb broken knuckles. For the first 5 weeks, I had a solid (IE, heavy) blue cast, knuckles to elbow. When that cast was sawed off, my arm felt like a feather. I could once again touch my faded skin and I felt as if I had been given a gift.
But I had only graduated to a 1/2 cast, also heavy. I took it off (myself) two weeks ago and I have been going cast-free.
At the 'bone institute' today, I heard the saw cutting off other casts. And I saw children walking out with smiles plastered on their faces. One young man kept his old cast as a trophy and he showed it to us all. Just like in the poem.
His mother trotted behind, complaining it was "too stinky" to keep too long. I didn't read that part in the poem...