A Prayer From An Empty Hospital Bed

I didn’t know till now how secret from myself my hopes were.
They tell me you’re on medication.
They tell me you don’t remember me.
The anesthetic they injected before my birth must have done its work.
Now, you remember no pain.
Now, you don’t remember the extraction, the surgery,
the body that burgeoned like a weed from yours.
Me, the mud you wiped from your boot at the door,
or maybe it was your mother and father who scraped me from your sleeping soles,
either way the rain has come
and rinsed my rust down the driveway.


Your mind is fluorescent hospital hallway.
Our blood has been bleached from the sheet.
They’ve convinced you sterile means peace.


You never named me
and I hope this means I can be
the clipped hair swept into the trash can,
a choke collar removed,
a tumor extracted.


But if not—
if some days you still wake
with a clanging empty behind your breasts
and a blind white where you remember
blood, and a baby—


then mother,엄마, I would pare myself down
to the slimmest parched wishbone
for you.


엄마, for you, I want to be a good daughter.
And this is the same as saying: I want to be the best
return on an investment, I want to
have been an investment, I want to
heal


you, my blood, blood of my blood,
I am yours, you stitched me from nothing,
I am the bud on your tangled vine,
this venomous root of insanity
singing and stinging through my veins.


I’ve never been one to trust in fate
for the Lord to save me at the end of the day,
but엄마, you have taught me to pray,
because everything good about me must be meant for you in some way:


God, if you have given me hands, let it be so she can hold them. If you have given me a voice, let it be so she can hear it. If you have marked me with the same madness that sparks and shadows her world, let it be so I am the one radio in all the world that can understand her frequency. If you have made me compassionate and kind and good, let it be for her. Let it be for her. Let me be all these things just so I could show up on her doorstep one day and be a gift, a blessing, a blessing not “blessing” like “luck” but “blessing” like “love,” the way the poor are loved and the sick are loved and the grieving, the lost, the broken, the sinners, are loved. Let me be love, for her, for her, for her.


Amen.


~ Rachel Rostad