Operating Room: Instruments and Poems

In this series, I have attempted to capture the beauty of the common instruments in the operating room. I have also written a poems about each object. 

cautery 2 wo poem web.jpg


Cut, sever, burn,

destroy. And yet

they feed and bathe

me every night, beg

me not to leave.

dilator wo poem web.jpg


Hard as steel, I am the one

they use when vessels, ducts,

the gut, clog up. They

gently push me, pause, then push

again, not heeding groans and shrieks

of flesh that does not want to yield.And

when they pull me back, what pleases me:

(I have a plumber’s brain)

the gush of backed up stuff

flowing as it should.

drape wo poem for web.jpg


In another place my job

would be to cover

antique cars, protect

the fancy sofa during the birthday party

for the five-year old, hide

the private parts. Here I cover

necks and thighs.

Expose to light

what must be cut away.

gloves wo poem.jpg


Pleased at how I’m used, not

by some criminal so none

will know the knife

was i\n his hand.

Wish there was a way

the surgeon’s fingerprints

could be left behind

to mark indelibly

her masterwork.

OR Table wo poem.jpg

Operating Room Table

They tilt me to one side

to cut out cancer

in a liver lobe.

Or they jack up my head

or drop my feet.

It all depends..

They cover me with drapes

but still the fluids

stain my frame.

I never flinch.

Retrator wo poem for web.jpg


Cool now

but scalded

in a pot last night

I await the hands

of one who’ll crank

me open wide

to pull and hold apart

flesh so kidney, cancers,

can be cut out.

But what I dread:

the times I’m closed

and nothing's

taken out.

Chisel wo poem for web.jpg


I dream of being gripped

by Michelangelo,

carving out the marble that it takes

to bring to life the lips of Mary

cradling her full-grown son.

But I’d hate

the sharpening block.

I would guess Michelangelo

would have gladly chiseled bone

instead of stone even though

when he was done no one

but God would see his work.

gurney wo poem for web.jpg


I do my best

to make the ride into this place

smooth as a new paved road

and trust the pilot

halts before I crash

into a wall. I hope they've oiled my wheels

although I've found

a squeak or two

will take a mind

off of what will soon occur