Survivor’s Guilt

By Patricia Kirkpatrick Patricia Kirkpatrick

How I’ve changed may not be apparent.
I limp. Read and write, make tea at the stove
as I practiced in rehab. Sometimes, like fire,
a task overwhelms me. I cry for days, shriek
when the phone rings. Like a page pulled from flame,
I’m singed but intact: I don’t burn down the house.

Later, cleared to drive, I did outpatient rehab. Others
lost legs or clutched withered minds in their hands.
A man who can’t speak recognized me
and held up his finger. I knew he meant
One year since your surgery. Sixteen since his.
Guadalupe wishes daily to be the one before. Nobody
is that. Sometimes, like love, the neurons just cross fire.
You don’t get everything back.


Source: Poetry (April 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2012
 Patricia   Kirkpatrick

Biography

Patricia Kirkpatrick has published Century’s Road (Holy Cow! Press, 2004) and books for young readers, including Plowie: A Story from the Prairie (Harcourt, 2004).

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Poems by Patricia Kirkpatrick

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, The Body, The Mind

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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