Closed Head Injury
to Pamela Gross, all gratitude

I don’t remember what happened
except,  as I lay on my back
on the asphalt,
I dreamt I was still shopping
                          for a raincoat
             for my husband.

I’d carried my two-year old past
a donut shop,  where
policemen sat beneath
             garish lights.

How it troubled me,  to hear
that woman
             screaming the name
                          of her son.

The doctors say I was lucky.
The accident:  a hit and run.

And now time drifts
           and I float on it
like a paper boat
                          down a storm sewer.

More than likely,
nothing that precedes
           the five minutes before
the five minutes before
                          an ambulance siren
can ever be erased from the brain’s
gray matter,
           its cache and sieve.

And I,  almost happy—
as if listening to
rushing down rock faces—
            foam frothing,

I recall asking the medic
           if my legs were gone,
or were we at the airport on stand-by.

Helianthus    acrylics, Polaroids, photograph on Plexiglas
Copyright 2006, Carolyn Krieg

Copyright 2011,  Judith Skillman

Judith Skillman is the author of thirteen books of poetry, most recently a collection about the seven deadly sins titled The White Cypress (Cervéna Barva Press, March 2011).    More information can be found at   "Closed Head Injury" was originally published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Feb 23rd 2011.

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