Sam Ruddick: Surgery With Violin

Joanna was six,
Her face, her smile, gigantic
For her small body.
She played her violin,
And I remembered
My father’s heart:

They had to stop it for the surgery,
Saw his sternum in half,
Pull his ribs apart, breaking them.

We watched the operation
Through a window,
Bright red blood on the doctor’s apron
And gloves.

A wind gust hit me
As I listened to Joanna play:
I stood with my chest cracked open,
My organs breathing the chill air.

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