The 2River View 18.3 (Spring 2014)
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Natasha Kochicheril Moni

After my Mother's Hip Replacement Surgery We Gather Around Her Heart

Before the lamp, my father lifts
the film, points to what appears

to be ivy looping over the branches
of my mother's heart.

          He hands me my mother's heart,
indicates where the bird's beak

was—has vanished. No more
nesting near valve,

only the supposition—
how one radiologist declared

          my mother's heart
had wings or beak.

He wanted her
to have something

that would open, tend her
while the cardinals winter

          away. I offer hair—
my own fallen-fistfuls

I collect to match my father's,
so she might build

          from her daughter's
cells, dismiss the rumor

of beak—remember the raptor
who returns, never opens his throat—

only focuses on what below reveals.

Hold Fast to Mother's Spine

          This morning she aches for a beach walk

                    thin grain of sand below her

          horizontal expanse where water animals emerge
          
                    their bodies half-crescents, their movements

          effortless. This morning, they'll prove her disc prolapsed, pop

                    the slide onto luminescent screen, slide their fingers over

          runaway dorsal captured on MRI. They'll say surgery.

                    She'll see an ocean splitting wave. They'll say nerve block.

          She'll see shore dolphins, faultless backs cresting.

Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a naturopathic medical student. Her poetry appears in journals including DIAGRAM, Indiana Review, and Verse. Her debut book, The Cardiologist's Daughter, is forthcoming from Two Sylvias Press. website

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