Laura Foley

On Refusing Anesthetic
For three hours,
the scalpel does its cutting:
I lie unflinching,
practice meditation,
follow my breath,
slow in, slow out.
The hardest part,
I tell the doctor,
is the waiting room,
incessant TV barking
I’m not used to,
tidbits of the latest murder
blaring from the screen,
a thoughtless Tweet
repeated from our president-elect
senseless acts for which
I would accept
any numbing possible.

The All

My sister, scarred from self-inflicted

razor wire;

my dad cramped beneath an army tent,

playing chess with toothbrush handles;

my second husband surviving, famished

on a rusty cot in Russia;

while the rest of his family perishes

in Dachau’s ovens;

my teacher Roshi on the curb, cupping a begging bowl,

as we practice homelessness;

sunlight sharpening the electric razored fence,

when I chaplain men in Concord prison;

the sharp-boned elderly, who creep

arm in arm along the street;

and in the distance, a lone majestic peak

awaiting snow.