Red Yarn

by Camilla Jean Welsch

I’m not sure
whether the needle is going in or out
at this very moment,
but it feels like a yarn string is unraveling
from the center of my heart
and tumbling, bright red, onto the floor
where I may trip on it
and pull some more out, unwittingly, myself.

“I better lie down while this is going on, right?”
“Is the needle in or out at this very moment?”

You perform the surgery quietly…
there is a funny, delayed feeling of discomfort…

I guess we’ll find out in the aftermath,
once you’re done…

Is this actually an experiment?
Should I get up now?
Or should I stay down?

“Hey, look!” I shout. “Are you here to help or hurt me, anyhow?!”

I can’t yet figure it out…
and my sentence echoes on, in the silence of your uncertain response.

Do you even know what you are doing?
My smile stays on throughout.

“You can only find good things in my heart, try as you might, to find something otherwise!”

Well, I say that…
and, I whimper to myself…
because it’s starting to hurt now, something sharp.

Not bearing it any longer, I touch my fingertips to my heart,
feeling the warmth, and the cold metal that stirs it,
and I lift my fingers to my eyes,
and see, yes, they are wet with a red
that shocks me,
even though I knew it all the while.

Now I shove you aside with one arm,
and banish your dastardly self from the room,
my finger pointing to the red EXIT sign.

You say nothing, just quietly smile and bow
with that long needle still clutched in one hand,
like you might stab someone,
and you exit in your white lab coat,
not even looking behind.

And getting off the table, I fall to my knees,
gathering in my arms
my bright red yarn.

“Ach,” I say to myself,
and begin putting it back inside,
carefully,
in the space where it belongs.

I don’t exactly blame you,
I just wonder what that was all about,
such incompetence, or malice? whatever that was,
and what you will do now,
out there, in your blood-spattered coat,
and only your own brown yarn
to work with…
because yours is oxidized,
come to find out.

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