Phantom Pain (the first published poem)

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Phantom Pain

I dodged mirrors after the surgery,
would even wrinkle my eyelids in a tight
squeeze near glass, not ready to view
the twisted limb, to know why the pinched
nerves pushed out cries and curses in darkness.
Months later,
skilled at sliding from bed to wheelchair,
I once forgot to shut my eyes, so caught a glimpse
of myself in the dresser mirror. My brain
observed, from eyes’ surprise,
how tissue and bone beneath the left
knee had vanished, was quickly replaced
by a stump with deep grooves and scars in the skin.
I blinked at mirrors all day; the remains never
returned. But–
sharp waves still dangled
over bed’s edge every morning. So,
for months,
I challenged reflections until finally,
what once seized the phantom bones
eventually
trailed behind the missing.

Literary Yard, 2013

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