Lisa Rhodes

(Born 1962 / Manhattan, New York City)

PHANTOM LIMB SYNDROME


Waiting inside her phantom limb
Throbbing for recognition,
She needs a massage
From strong hands
To calm the pain rising
In her temporal lobe-
Burning like a fire
Out of control.

This longing
Is insatiable
Just like a craving for alcohol
And despite it
Diabetes ravages her other leg.

Half a woman lies in bed
With two bony stumps.
Her arms are strapped
So she can’t
Rip out the i.v.

Clumps of grey hair rest
On her pillow.
I think a scalp massage
And a sprinkle of baby powder
Will sweeten her mood.
I notice her smokey blue eyes
Closing heavily and her pulse
Starts to hum.

An older woman in the next bed
Admires her family’s
Comings and goings, always
Commenting on the flourish
Of plants crawling along the window
And the hoards of nurses
Parading about all day
Who adjust the pain
Of the dying, so they can go on living.

Submitted: Monday, February 16, 2009
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