The nurse walked my kidney from my opened body to his, over a bridge between surgical wings, beams with eyes to look in on the sick. Eight hours later she would be home, while the night-nurse checked my catheter and brought two Percocet in a paper ramekin. Those minutes, while one doctor stitched my stomach in three places, and one doctor made new branches in my brother, she walked the spine of an angel, a space between he lives and he dies, a blur between rolling beds, paper gowns, my body outside of my body in a stranger’s hands at dawn, under fluorescent light. She, the last prayer there was to make.

EMILY SCHULTEN’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, New Ohio Review, The Greensboro Review, and Los Angeles Review. She is the author of Rest in Black Haw (New Plains, 2009).