by Emily Schulten

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).