Alison Lanier

Cardiac Overnight

What do you remember ?           
A sickly hallway rubber-grip socks            
the slowness of an          

You wanted time to lose count   
miss a beat         
but here is the knowledge:          

that someplace in this same hospital complex there is     huge and rough               the tumor in your friend’s brain and yesterday weren’t they               admitted too?                  There’s something graceful in that           in disaster coming all at once          

in your room’s TV refusing to turn off all night    
and only going to mute instead                
grace in the night nurse pricking you for blood at four am
and        grace     

in your knowing, childishly, that you can still look at your own undramatic, surgical rescue                heart & blood ablated, reset       as an adventure to store away later, in words

to remember
as you make apple pie for the new year, burn the crust, 
and bless the table and the dinner and day                        
and the silver absence of pain                  
and your partner’s warm knee, 
bless and bless, 

because you can no longer imagine that old serious fear of going under and cardiac because this important & terrible thing is now    only       a                          blank                                                              a misfire somewhere soft &               harmless            

confirming that this pain             
heart & brain, you, your friend, that pain, that    was       all          indifferent


Alison Lanier is an MFA candidate at University of Massachusetts Boston and a member of the Writers' Room of Boston. She also serves as an editor at Critical Flame and as an editorial assistant at AGNIeditor at Mortar Magazine, and film editor at Atticus Review.  Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared at Ms. Magazine, The Establishment, Burningword, Origins, and elsewhere.