My second night after surgery
on my jaguar-ripped-apart wrist,
they rolled in another kid: his face
the sick green of a tornado sky.
A priest gave him, what even I,
a Jewish kid of eleven, knew
were the last rites for Catholics
who might not make it.
After the priest left, they rolled
him out for emergency surgery.
I willed myself asleep, too afraid
I’d see an orderly strip the bed
the kid was never going to need.
But in the morning, I heard
his mother murmuring,
“Thank God, thank God,”
clicking her rosary beads I knew
from a Cagney movie,
didn’t always work.
But this time, I thought maybe
I should convert, except
hadn’t Elohim made sure
Dr. Levine lived around the block,
His way of protecting a kid stupid
enough to run through a glass door?