Monday, March 14, 2011

Dust Settles Upon the Telephone

By Kenneth Gurney

I lift the soap
from the sting of my bloody arm
and watch the water
turn pink in the pan
as my sharp breath dulls
as the pain’s echo recedes.

I picture fifteen monarch butterflies
instead of the white tape ones
binding the red seam
where the skin could be pealed back
to reveal layers of muscles
and the whitish connective tissue
and exactly where that bone
resides inside my flesh.

I hear the electric bill sing out against
a trip to the ER. The home owner’s
insurance chimes in.
The phone bill, next year’s pre-paid taxes,
the gas bill, and my grandson’s
college tuition form a greek chorus
because they know the Insurance Card
is one year invalid with my unemployment
and unattainable with my health record.

There is the sound of my peaceful breath
as some opiate painkiller
Stewart had left over
from his knee replacement surgery
enters my blood and fuzzies
my brain a little too fast
for me to spread the antibiotic gel
evenly, before we tape
the white gauze in place
and use up all the ice
from the plastic freezer trays.

Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA. He edits the NM poetry anthology Adobe Walls. To view his full biography, publishing credits and available books visit

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