The nurses touch my skin
asking questions about each mark
“a cat scratch” I tell her as gentle old woman
fingers touch a rough patch on my left arm.

Her skin is so soft, the tips of her fingers
the way only an old woman’s are,
softened with age and care.
“Who won?” she asks
and I smile, unsure of what to say,
nervous, because I am about to be cut open,
and because who really ever wins?

I wake in a recovery room
less confused than I expected.
For a moment I am alone
and I think of the sterile walls and hall ways
and how not all growth is good
how even a well meaning cell
can go wrong
and how I will not mourn
the small pieces taken
from my body that day.

The surgeon enters with a smile,
large and uncharacteristic
and I wonder If the day she cuts
into people is her favorite of the week.

“It all went well,” she says,
along with words like messy
and extra time, but overall, well,
and leaves me with something
definite and definable.

She leaves me with a reason.

And after so long without one I am euphoric.

I may also be a little drugged,
but the emotion seems authentic
and I do not argue.

Instead I eat my applesauce and
write in my small brown notebook
and wait for the healing to begin.