Something was weighing down
my right arm in the hospital bed.
Finally prying open my eyes
from my painkiller haze, I saw
the cast, heavy as a battleship’s anchor.

When I tried to rise—my bladder
beating like Hi-Ho Silver!—
a nurse gentled me back down,
handed me a bedpan.
I may have been eleven,
but I figured it out.

Then it came at me like a snarling dog:
the memory of that shattering glass-door
I-idiot-ran-into, as if trying to outrun
St. Rose of Lima High School hitters.

A scream started to rise,
the nurse shushing me,
wiping my swamp-wet forehead,
until my parents peered in,
my dad tussling my hair,
my mom kissing me,
through my quieting breaths.

I wasn’t fooled by his, “Hey Pal,”
smile: her cheery lipstick,
almost as red as my blood
that had spasmed over everything.